Bursa – a city on the side of a mountain

At first glance it may give you an impression of just another concrete city.

But it’s amazing, though.

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Bursa is located on the side of the mountain which gives you beautiful views of the city and the surrounding mountains panorama. The name of the mountain is, of course, impossible to pronounce :) It is Uludağ and it is one of the highest mountains in Turkey, famous for its winter sports facilities.

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Bursa is also famous for its kestane şekeri– which you can buy literally at every street corner, the hot springs and is home to the first Ottoman Sultans’ tombs.

It is a crowded city, though, even on the weekends. People seem to be in a constant flow and you need to fight for the parking space with tourist coaches. Be prepared to lose or to come back with a few scratches on your car.

In the streets, the headscarf and the full body hijab can be spotted more frequently than in Istanbul. Here, the modest style rules and Luois Vuitton can be seen in the hands of tourists rather than locals while in Istanbul the western style is followed and women can compete with models and fashion bloggers.

You can feel the conservatism in the air.

It’s worth to use the local treasure – the thermal waters reaching 46 degrees Celsius. You can experience the tradition of the Turkish Bath and give yourself in to the body massage to, for a while, leave the stress of the daily life behind. The hamam is certainly an opportunity to get to know the Turkish culture better or apparently to learn all about it.

You give and receive a massage. Like in the real life. A favour for a favour.

For me it is still to discover, however, I can’t wipe the feeling from my mind that this is so much a Frank Underwood approach. And this is not the comparison I would like to be making.

A famous place for çay and family gatherings is the village of Inkaya  where a 600 year-old huge plane tree grows. It is also a place to stop by the street sellers for some seasonal fruit – now the strawberries and mulberries.

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Of course, consider yourself lucky if you find a parking space and a seat in the shadow of the gigantic tree.

An attraction for the kids may be the local zoo where you can look the giraffe literally in the eye :)

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And if you don’t know where to eat, try the Iskender kebab whose inventor İskender Efendi lived in Bursa  in the late 19th century.

If you are going to Bursa from Istanbul, be prepared for an easy journey (of course once you leave Istanbul). The crossing of the Marmara Sea is a piece of cake on one of the feribots to Yalova

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