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Bursa

Bursa is a large city in Turkey, located in north western Anatolia, within the Marmara Region. It is the fourth most populous city in Turkey and one of the most industrialized metropolitan centres in the country. The city is also the administrative centre of Bursa Province. It was the first major and second overall capital of the Ottoman State between 1335 and 1363. The city was referred to as Hüdavendigar (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.

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 and MGI Courtier 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.

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 the rapeutical 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. 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.

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