25-26 September, 2011
I am in Asia! After a 90 minute ferry ride and a 45 minute bus ride I arrived in downtown Bursa, 4th largest city in Turkey (about 2.6m population). Very different from Istanbul. Tourists are hardly to be seen. Feels more…Turkish. Bursa was the first Ottoman capital. The capital was subsequently shifted to Edirne on the European side, and only after Constantinople fell in 1453 did that become the capital. The capital city of Turkey is now Ankara of course. Bursa is sometimes nicnamed Yeşil Bursa (Green Bursa). While it is rather lush, it might also be because it is home to the Green Mosque (Yeşil Cami), so named for its turquoise tiles and the Green Tomb (Yeşil Turbesi) of Sultan Mehmet Çelebi (1421). Two other famous tombs contain the bodies of the first and second Ottoman rulers (Osman and his son Orhan). The Grand Mosque (Ulu Cami) is very impressive, with its 20 domes and loads of beautiful old calligraphy inside. It is unusual in having a washing pool inside as well.