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Introducing Bursa

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 markets, the soaring peaks of Mt Uludağ (Turkey's premier ski resort) are nearby, with Çekirge's thermal hamams en route.

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). In 2014, Bursa was awarded Unesco World Heritage status for being the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire.