Bursa (historically also known as Prussa, Greek: Προύσα, and later as Brusa) is a city in northwestern Turkey and the seat of Bursa Province. With a population of 1,562,828 (2007), it is Turkey's fourth largest city, as well as one of the most industrialized and culturally charged metropolitan centers in the country.
Bursa is settled on the north-west slopes of the Mount Uludağ in the South of Marmara Region. It is bordered by The Marmara Sea and Yalova on the north, Kocaeli and Sakarya on the north-east, Bilecik on the east and Kütahya and Balıkesir on the south.
The city is frequently cited as "Yeşil Bursa" (meaning "Green Bursa") in a reference to the parks and gardens located across its urban tissue, as well as to the vast forests in rich variety that extend in its surrounding region. The city is synonymous with the mountain Uludağ which towers behind the city core and which is also a famous ski resort. The mausoleums of early Ottoman sultans are located in Bursa and the numerous edifices built throughout the Ottoman period constitute the city's main landmarks. The surrounding fertile plain, its thermal baths, several interesting museums, notably a rich museum of archaeology, and a rather orderly urban growth are further principal elements that complete Bursa's overall picture.
Karagöz and Hacivat shadow play characters were historic personalities who lived and are buried in Bursa. Bursa is also home to some of the most famous Turkish dishes, especially candied chestnuts and İskender kebap. Its peaches are also well-renowned. Among its depending district centers, İznik, historic Nicaea, is especially notable for its long history and important edifices. Bursa is home to Uludağ University, and its population attains one of the highest overall levels of education in Turkey. It has traditionally been a pole of attraction and of refuge for immigration into Turkey from the Balkans, in sizable waves at times until quite recently.
The earliest known site at this location was Cius, which Philip V of Macedonia granted to the Bithynian king Prusias I in 202 BC, for his help against Pergamum and Heraclea Pontica (modern Karadeniz Ereğli). Prusias renamed the city after himself, as Prusa.
It was later a major city, located on the westernmost end of the famous Silk Road, and was the capital of the Ottoman Empire following its capture from the shrinking Byzantine Empire in 1326. After the city was captured from the Byzantine Empire, many structures were built especially when it was the capital city of the Ottoman Empire. The capture of Edirne in 1365 brought that city to the fore as well, but Bursa remained an important administrative and commercial center even after it lost its status as the sole capital. Sortly after it was taken by the Ottomans they developed a school of theology at Bursa. This school attracted Muslim schoolars from throughout the Middle East and continued to function after the capital had been moved elsewhere.
During the Ottoman rule, Bursa was the source of most royal silk products. Aside from the local production, it imported raw silk from Iran, and occasionally China, and was the 'factory' for the kaftans, pillows, embroidery and other silk products for the royal palaces up through the 17th century. Another traditional occupation is knife making and, historically, horse carriage building. Nowadays one can still find hand-made knives as well as other products in rich variety produced by artisans, but instead of carriages, there is a big automobile industry.
Bursa sits on a geologic fault like most of Turkey. The city was partially leveled by strong earthquakes coupled with fires and was rebuilt after each time. Being on the first degree earthquake zone, it was widely affected by the earthquakes which took place in 1855 and 1905.
Bursa is the toe of Turkey's automobile industry. FIAT and Renault have for decades had important production units in Bursa. The textile and food industries are equally strong, and Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, and other beverages brands, as well as fresh and canned food industries are present in the city's organized industrial zones.
Traditionally, Bursa was famous for its fertile soil and agricultural activities, both of which are decreasing due to the heavy industrialization of the city.
Bursa is also a major tourist center: One of the best ski resorts of Turkey is located at Uludağ just next to city proper. Its thermal baths have been used for therapeutical purposes since Roman times. Apart from baths operated by hotels, Uludağ University has a physical therapy center which also makes use of thermal water.
The city of Bursa is preparing to apply for the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in Uludağ.
Sailing Sports on Catamarans are strong here with locally made boats including: NetCat 16, and...
A brief list of places of interest in and around Bursa is presented below. For a longer list, see Places of interest in Bursa.
Ulu Camii is the major mosque of Bursa and a landmark of early Ottoman architecture. It was built by Ali Neccar in 1396-1399, at Sultan Bayezid I's command. The mosque is large and rectangular, with twenty domes arranged in four rows of five supported by twelve columns. Supposedly twenty domes are built instead of twenty separate mosques that Sultan Bayezid I promised for winning the Battle of Nicopolis. It has two minarets. Inside the mosque there are 192 monumental wall inscriptions written by famous calligraphers. There is also a fountain (şadırvan) inside the mosque where worshipers can perform ritual ablutions before prayer; the dome over the şadırvan is capped by a skylight, creating a soft, serene light below. The story of the şadırvan inside the mosque, which is unheard of, that the land belong to an old lady who objected to her store taken by padişah. Because consent is not given for the piece of land, prayer cannot be conducted on it thus a şadırvan is built. Architecturally şadırvan helps to have light inside the mosque that is big.
The horizontally spacious and dimly lit interior is designed to feel peaceful and contemplative. The subdivisions of space formed by multiple domes and pillars create a sense of privacy and even intimacy. This atmosphere contrasts with later Ottoman mosques (see for example the work of Süleyman I's chief architect Sinan). These later mosques have increasingly elevated central domes, which create a vertical emphasis that is intended to be more overwhelming, in order to convey the power and majesty of the Ottoman Empire. It is a beautiful piece of architecture.