After you have discovered many places in Istanbul, you are maybe thinking about to explore other cities of Turkey. One of them should be definitely Bursa. This historical city was the first major capital of the Ottoman State in years 1335 – 1363. So you can be sure, that you will find some interesting places to visit during a day walking around; you will also try a special kebab. Many tourists love to come here, because it is situated at the foot of the Uludağ Mountain. In winter time you can go up for skiing and snowboarding. In summer time you can walk around in the nature and enjoy the fresh air, which you maybe miss in Istanbul’s concrete jungle. Besides, Bursa is also famous for its hot springs.
So firstly you have to figure out, how to get there of course. The easiest and cheapest way to get there is by the ferry boats company called “Bursa Deniz Otobüsleri” or in short “Budo” which departs in Kabataş. You can get tickets directly at the counter or order them via Internet (then you will just put your credit card on the machine in front of the ferry and it will print your tickets). The price per person for students is approximately 20 TL. The ride takes 1.5 – 2 hours. It arrives at Bursa (Mudanya) and you will have to take a bus which directly brings you to the city center in another half hour. Cheap accommodations are offered at the webpage “airbnb.com”. When booking, pay attention that it is situated close to the city center! Then you can visit all sights at one day by walking. The distances between them are not so big.
What is worth to see? Beautiful and large Ulu Camii, which has twenty domes and is directly situated at the roofed “Grand Bazaar” where you can spend all day of shopping. But you are not here because of shopping (you are a poor student anyway ;)), so then you can walk on to Yeşil Camii (Green Mosque). On opposite side is Yeşil Türbe (Green Mausoleum) with tomb of Mehmet Çelebi. At the end of the tour, I can recommend you to go to Emir Sultan Camii. Not only because it is a beautiful mosque, but also because you will have a great view over the city. And what to do when getting hungry? Go to a restaurant and order the İskender kebab. It is a famous dish in Bursa and it consists of thin sliced meat, placed on bread, covered with tomato sauce and served with yogurt. Very delicious! And after this oily food you will need a nice dessert: Kestane Şekeri (sweet chestnut).
If you go to Bursa for skiing, then you have to go to Uludağ Mountain. You have two options how to get there: One of them is taking a dolmuş. I’m sure you already know it from Istanbul. It’s a van pending between two places for a low price. Here it costs 12 TL per person one way. It starts from the corner of Ortapazar Cd. and 2. Osman Gazi Cd. in downtown. Ask for Okçu Baba Parkı, which is just next to it. The second option is the cable car and its station is situated on the edge of Bursa. It’s a very comfortable way to get there. It takes about 30 – 40 minutes and you will change ones to get to the very top of the mountain. There is also a discount for students, but you have to show your student card from your Turkish university. The student transportation card from Istanbul is not enough for them as a proof, despite there is written that you study in Turkey. We had argue with the manager, but they were just very strict about that. You should realize, that if you choose to go by cable car, which is cheaper for students, you will probably have to go to station by taxi, because it’s not in the centre as mentioned above, and it will cost you some money. On the other hand, with dolmuş, you have to wait until it’s full, so it’s possible, that you will wait 10-20 minutes. Now you have to consider which option is the best for you.
When you get up on the mountain, it is time to rent skies, equipment and ski-pass. You can rent also clothes (trousers and jacket). There is a place, where you can rent skies for 15 – 25 TL but I really don’t recommend it, because it is so bad equipment that it’s almost dangerous to use it. So if you are okay with to pay little bit more, then you should go to Karinna hotel and rent the equipment there. Also near to this hotel are similar places. It will cost you about 50 TL and the equipment is better than the cheap one. Nevertheless, if you are used to rent skies in Austria or Italy it is still far away from that quality. The clothes rent is for extra money. Anyway, now you have skis, boots, sticks, helmet (if you don’t feel too cool to wear it) but you still need a ski-pass. You have to find a place in this hotel, where they sell them and you can buy one ticket to ski in the entire resort for 50TL for 4 hours. I’m not sure about the price for all day. Be careful, if you will buy somewhere else, because they are selling also tickets for almost the same price BUT just for one lift. You can also buy one way ticket for 10TL, but if you will buy the right one for entire area, then it’s pointless. The resort is not so big, so in four hours you can find your favourite slope, but generally the ones close to hotels are for beginners and a lot of ski schools are skiing there too. So if you want to find something spacious and steeper I can recommend slopes on the left side (number ….).
Unfortunately we didn’t have more time to explore this city deeply, there are of course other places you can visit, but we hope, that this article will help you to enjoy your time in Bursa and maybe you will have, thanks to it, more time for more fun there.
Photo Credits: Charles Roffey, Bursa Municipality, Carmen Alonso Suarez, Charles Roffey