Modern, industrial Bursa is built around the mosques, mausoleums and other sites from its incarnation as first Ottoman capital. Despite being built-up and somewhat chaotic, its durable Ottoman core and abundant parks keep it remarkably placid in places. For some fresh air after pounding the old-town pavement, the soaring peaks of Mt Uludağ (Turkey's premier ski resort) and its national park are 22km away.
As with Konya, Bursa's historic contributions to Islamic development has given it an austere reputation; you'll see a majority of head-scarved women and devout prayer in overflowing mosques. Yet locals are kind and welcoming, and you can take the occasional photo inside historic religious structures (just be respectful).
Bursans take pride in their contribution to Turkish cuisine: the İskender kebap, a giant, semi-spicy pot of meat simmering in its own juices, was created here in the 19th century, and is known nationwide as the 'Bursa kebap'. Bursa's also famous for its kestane şekeri (sweet candied chestnuts). and its silks – both are widely available in shops.
Best of Turkey
Explore the mysterious land of the Ottomans Intrepid-style. Marvel at Mehmet Aga's masterpiece, the Blue Mosque, and bargain for trinkets in Istanbul's massive Grand Bazaar. Try delicious Turkish snacks, be mesmerised by the Whirling Dervishes and discover the underwater treasures of the Mediterranean on a relaxing boat cruise.
Real Food Adventure - Turkey
Take a culinary journey through Turkey, a country steeped in history and tradition, where east meets west and the ancient bleeds into the modern day. Begin in astonishing Istanbul, eating meze in a traditional meyhane, being awed by the Aya Sofia and Blue Mosque and exploring the well-trod passageways of the Grand Bazaar.