Bursa was the first major and second overall capital of the Ottoman State between 1335 and 1363. The city was referred to as Hüdavendigar (Ottoman Turkish: خداوندگار, meaning "God's gift") during the Ottoman period, while a more recent nickname is Yeşil Bursa (meaning "Green Bursa") in reference to the parks and gardens located across its urban fabric, as well as to the vast and richly varied forests of the surrounding region. The ski resort of Mount Uludağ towers over it. The mountain was called the Mysian Olympus by the Romans who lived there before. Bursa has rather orderly urban growth and borders a fertile plain. The mausoleums of the early Ottoman sultans are located in Bursa and the city's main landmarks include numerous edifices built throughout the Ottoman period. Bursa also has thermal baths and several museums, including a museum of archaeology.
The shadow play characters Karagöz and Hacivat are based on historic personalities who lived and died in Bursa. Bursa is also home to some of the most famous Turkish dishes such as İskender kebap, specially candied marron glacés, peaches and Turkish Delight. Bursa houses the Uludağ University, and its population can claim one of the highest overall levels of education in Turkey. The historic towns of İznik (Nicaea), Mudanya and Zeytinbağı are all situated in Bursa Province.
In 2015, Bursa had a population of 2,340,000, while Bursa Province had 2,842,000 inhabitants.
The earliest known human settlement near Bursa's current location was at Ilıpınar Höyüğü around 5200 BC. It was followed by the ancient Greek city of Cius, which Philip V of Macedon granted to Prusias I, the King of Bithynia, in 202 BC. Prusias rebuilt the city and renamed it Prusa (Ancient Greek: Προῦσα; sometimes rendered as Prussa). After 128 years of Bithynian rule, Nicomedes IV, the last King of Bithynia, bequeathed the entire kingdom to the Roman Empire in 74 BC. An early Roman Treasure was found in the vicinity of Bursa in the early 20th century. Composed of a woman's silver toilet articles, it is now in the British Museum.
Bursa became the first major capital city of the early Ottoman Empire following its capture from the Byzantines in 1326. As a result, the city witnessed a considerable amount of urban growth throughout the 14th century. After conquering Edirne (Adrianople) in East Thrace, the Ottomans turned it into the new capital city in 1363, but Bursa retained its spiritual and commercial importance in the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman sultan Bayezid I built the Bayezid Külliyesi (Bayezid I theological complex) in Bursa between 1390 and 1395 and the Ulu Cami (Grand Mosque) between 1396 and 1400. Bursa remained to be the most important administrative and commercial centre in the empire until Mehmed II conquered Constantinople in 1453. The population of Bursa was 45,000 in 1487.
During the Ottoman period, Bursa continued to be the source of most royal silk products. Aside from the local silk production, the city imported raw silk from Iran, and occasionally from China, and was the main production centre for the kaftans, pillows, embroidery and other silk products for the Ottoman palaces until the 17th century.
Following the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, Bursa became one of the industrial centres of the country. The economic development of the city was followed by population growth and Bursa became the 4th most populous city in Turkey.
The city has traditionally been a pole of attraction, and was a major centre for refugees from various ethnic backgrounds who immigrated to Anatolia from the Balkans during the loss of the Ottoman territories in Europe between the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The most recent arrival of Balkan Turks took place in the 1940s until the 1990s, when the communist regime in Bulgaria expelled approximately 150,000 Bulgarian Turks to Turkey. About one-third of these 150,000 Bulgarian Turkish refugees eventually settled in Bursa.
Bursa is settled on the northwestern slopes of Mount Uludağ in the southern Marmara Region. It is the capital city of Bursa Province bordered by the Sea of Marmara and Yalova to the north; Kocaeli and Sakarya to the northeast; Bilecik to the east; and Kütahya and Balıkesir to the south.
Bursa has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa) under the Köppen classification, and dry-hot summer temperate climate (Csa) Trewartha classification. The city has hot, dry summers that last from June until September. Winters are cold and damp, also containing the most rainfall. There can be snow on the ground which will last for a week or two.
Bursa is the centre of the Turkish automotive industry. Factories of motor vehicle producers like Fiat, Renault and Karsan, as well as automotive parts producers like Bosch, Mako, Valeo, Johnson Controls, Delphi have been active in the city for decades. The textile and food industries are equally strong, with Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola and other beverage brands, as well as fresh and canned food industries being present in the city's organized industrial zones.
The top 10 industry corporations in the Bursa province are as follows:Oyak Renault
Sütaş Dairy Products
Bursa Eczacılar Kooperatifi
Türk Prysmian Kablo
Apart from its large automotive industry, Bursa also produces a substantial amount of dairy products (by Sütaş'), processed food (by Tat), and beverages (by Uludağ).
Traditionally, Bursa was famous for being the largest centre of silk trade in the Byzantine and later the Ottoman empires, during the period of the lucrative Silk Road. The city is still a major centre for textiles in Turkey and is home to the Bursa International Textiles and Trade Centre (Bursa Uluslararası Tekstil ve Ticaret Merkezi, or BUTTIM). Bursa was also known for its fertile soil and agricultural activities, which have decreased in the recent decades due to the heavy industrialization of the city.
Bursa is a major centre for tourism. One of the most popular skiing resorts of Turkey is located at Mount Uludağ, just next to the city proper. Bursa's thermal baths have been used for therapeutical purposes since Roman times. Apart from the baths that are operated by hotels, Uludağ University has a physical therapy centre which also makes use of thermal water.
Bursa has a metro (Bursaray), trams and bus system for inner-city public transport, while taxi cabs are also available. Bursa's Yenişehir Airport is 20 mi (32 km) away from the city centre. The citizens of Bursa also prefer Istanbul's airports such as Atatürk International Airport and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport for flights to foreign countries, due to Istanbul's proximity to Bursa. There are numerous daily bus and ferry services between the two cities.
The 8.8 km (5.5 mi) long Bursa Uludağ Gondola (Turkish: Teleferik) connects Bursa with the ski resort areas 1,870 m (6,140 ft) high on the mountain Uludağ.
The only railway station in Bursa is the Harmancık station on the Balıkesir-Kütahya railway, which was opened in 1930.
The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Bursa, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 62 min. 12% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 18 min, while 31% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 8.1 km, while 17% travel for over 12 km in a single direction.
Bursa has two public universities and one private university. Uludağ University, founded in 1975, is the oldest institution of higher education in the city. Founded first as the Bursa University then renamed Uludağ University in 1982, the university has a student body of 47,000, one of the largest in Turkey. Bursa Technical University is the second public university of Bursa and was established in 2010, beginning education in the 2011–2012 academic year.
The first private university of Bursa was the Bursa Orhangazi University, which started education in the 2012–2013 academic year. However, Orhangazi University was shut down by the Turkish Government after the failed coup attempt of July 2016. Istanbul Commerce University has opened graduate programs in Bursa in 2013.
The city has one professional football club, Bursaspor, which competes in the Turkish Super League, the top-tier of Turkish football. As of December 21, the team plays their home games at The Timsah Arena stadium (literally meaning Crocodile Arena), which has a sitting capacity of 45,000. Bursaspor has won its first league title in the 2009–10 Turkish Super League season, becoming the second Anatolian club to ever win the league title after Trabzonspor. Today Bursaspor is considered one of the five biggest football clubs in Turkey along with Galatasaray SK, Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş, and Trabzonspor.
The city has a professional basketball team in the Turkish Basketball League, Tofaş S.K., which was among the most successful teams.
Ulu Cami is the largest mosque in Bursa and a landmark of early Ottoman architecture, which carried many elements from the Seljuk architecture. Ordered by Sultan Bayezid I, the mosque was designed and built by architect Ali Neccar in 1396–1400. It is a large and rectangular building, with a total of twenty domes that are arranged in four rows of five, and are supported by 12 columns. Supposedly the twenty domes were built instead of the twenty separate mosques which Sultan Bayezid I had promised for winning the Battle of Nicopolis in 1396. The mosque has two minarets.
Inside the mosque there are 192 monumental wall inscriptions written by the famous calligraphers of that period. There is also a fountain (şadırvan) where worshipers can perform ritual ablutions before prayer; the dome over the şadırvan is capped by a skylight which creates a soft, serene light below; thus playing an important role in the illumination of the large building.
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 the later Ottoman mosques (see for example the works of Suleiman the Magnificent's chief architect Mimar Sinan.) The mosques that were built after the conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, and influenced by the design of the 6th century Byzantine basilica of Hagia Sophia, had increasingly elevated and large central domes, which create a vertical emphasis that is intended to be more overwhelming; in order to convey the divine power of Allah, the majesty of the Ottoman Sultan, and the governmental authority of the Ottoman State.
A brief list of places of interest in and around Bursa is presented below. For a longer list, see places of interest in Bursa.Bursa Grand Mosque and külliye
Yeşil Mosque and külliye
Bayezid I Mosque and külliye
Muradiye Mosque and külliye
Emir Sultan Mosque and külliye
Orhan Gazi Mosque and külliye
Hüdavendigar Mosque and külliye
Koca Sinan Paşa Mosque and külliye
İshak Paşa Mosque and külliye
Karacabey Grand Mosque
Karabaş-i Veli Cultural Centre
Inkaya Sycamore, very big and impressive 600-year-old tree (Platanus Orientalis)
Bursa Archaeological Museum
Bursa City Museum
Bursa Atatürk Museum
Bursa Turkish Architecture Museum
Bursa Islamic Works Museum
Tofaş Museum of Cars and Anatolian Carriages
Armistice of Mudanya Museum
Uludağ National Park
Bursa Zoo and Botanical Garden
Keramet hot spring
Çekirge hot spring
Armutlu hot spring
Oylat hot spring
Gemlik hot spring
Çelik Palas thermal bath
Volunteer OrganizationsGönüllü Hareketi (Volunteer Movement)
Bursa is twinned with: