Bursa is a city in Turkey about 12 miles inland from the Sea of Marmara coast and perfect for a getaway from Istanbul, which is just three hours away. The city happens to be located on the lower slopes of Uludag Mountain, which is a very popular winter ski resort. Bursa, the original capital of the Ottoman Empire in the 14th century, is a historic city itself. As such, it has a host of historic mosques, and the cuisine is nothing short of spectacular. If that is not enough, a Bursa suburb named Cekirge is famous for its natural warm mineral springs and Roman era baths. The beaches and beach resorts on the Sea of Marmara coast are just a few minutes away. In order to see these varied aspects of the city and the attractions nearby, you will need to get a car for hire in Bursa.
Almost every city in Turkey has historic mosques and an Ottoman cultural hangover, but the grand old mosques in Bursa have been witness to one of the greatest chapters in the world's history. Seen from this perspective, it seems worthwhile to get a car for rent in Bursa to go around and see all these landmarks. Start with the Yesil (Green) Mausoleum and Mosque from 1424, in the city's eastern section. Go further east and uphill to the beautiful Emir Sultan Mosque and then to the Yildinm Bayezid Mosque from 1391. The Orhan Gazi Mosque from 1339 can be found in Koza Park. From here, head for the old Hisar area to see the mausoleums of Osman and Orhan Gazi, the father-son duo who founded the Ottoman Empire and conquered Bursa. The last stop on this tour is to the Muradiye area to see the Mosque of Sultan Murat II from 1426.
Uludag National Park is a bit over an hour away from Bursa. It is the biggest and most popular winter sports destination in Turkey. The slopes can be reached both by car and by the cable-car. If you are driving in from Bursa, the road just winds its way up the mountain right up to the Karabelen entrance to the park. From here, a cobbled road leads to Sarıalan or to Oteller.
Bursa is famous for its Iskender kebabs and candied chestnuts. The kebabs are a local specialty, made from bread and strips of grilled lamb, with tomato sauce, melted butter, and yogurt. If you plan to visit the Hisar area to see the aforementioned mausoleums of Osman and Orhan Gazi, then you must look for a restaurant there called Hacı Dayı. The Kestane Sekeri or candied chestnuts are mostly factory made, so you have to purchase them at stores.
The two biggest destinations for day-trips from Bursa are Istanbul and Ankara, which is Turkey's capital city. Going to Istanbul allows you to explore beach resorts and cities along the way such as Gemlik and Yalova. You might also want to stop at Tuzla to see the Istanbul F1 racetrack and take a break in one of the waterfront seafood restaurants. Book your car rental in Bursa and plan for a 3 hour drive on the E881 and E-80 or a more leisurely trip with stops along the way. If you prefer a drive inland, then Ankara is about 5 hours away.
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