If all you know about İznik is its reputation for fine tile-making, chances are this isn’t what you were expecting. Far from being a commercial hub, today’s town has changed surprisingly little since its Ottoman heyday, slumbering peacefully within its historic walls. The town’s hilly, rustic surrounds are punctuated by tall, spiky cypress trees and peach orchards, cornfields and vineyards. Development has been largely kept under control here, and the whole place has a relaxed, traditional atmosphere even amid the more modern buildings.
Badly damaged in the War of Independence, İznik has since perked up and offers a welcome retreat for İstanbullus over summer weekends. An increasing number of shops now sell İznik ceramics, but many people still earn their living from either farming or forestry.
İznik destination guides
Small-Group Tour: Bursa Day Trip from Istanbul
Visit the birthplace of modern Turkish culture and the first capital of the Ottoman State on a day trip from Istanbul to the city of Bursa. Visit the Green Mosque (Yesil Camii) and the neighboring Green Mausoleum (Yesil Turbe), both world renowned for their superb tile decoration, and head to the 14th-century Great Mosque (Ulu Cami), where local Muslims worship.