Flights to Bursa
Turkey’s fourth largest city is Bursa and it’s situated in the north west of the country on the coast of the Sea of Marmara and also on the slopes of one of Turkey’s largest mountains, Mount Uludag. Bursa was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and so it offers history and more to visiting tourists.
The airport in Bursa is the Yenisehir Airport (airport code: BTZ) but it doesn’t accept international flights to Bursa and hence you will always be making one transfer in Turkey before arriving in Bursa itself. One option for a flight to Bursa from South Africa is with Turkish Airways, with connections in Istanbul and Ankara. A flight with Lufthansa goes through Europe instead, with transfers in Munich and Ankara, as does South African Airways. Flight times can range from 16 hours to more than 40 depending on the airline and the route taken.
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The Tourist Attractions of Bursa:
Bursa is an ancient city that was originally settled in the year 202BC and grew into an important city even before it became the first capital of the Ottoman Empire in 1326. With such a long and quite varied history Bursa offers several attractions of a historical nature as well as being a popular summertime destination for its beaches, and wintertime destination for the nearby skiing.
Uludag National Park
Bursa is situated on the slopes of Uludag, which in Turkish means ‘Great Mountain’. This is one of the highest mountains in Turkey and is certainly the highest point in this region of Turkey. It’s been designated a national park to help protect it and you can visit in the summer or winter, making use of the cable car, or travelling up the mountain road by car. During the summer trekking and hiking is popular and there are many great species of plants and wildlife to look out for, while in the winter Uludag is a popular ski destination.
Museums in Bursa
Back in the city itself you can find out more about the history of Bursa through its museums. There are several worth visiting including the interesting Bursa Archaeology Museum which features artefacts from the local region, and the Bursa City Museum.
Like all cities in Turkey Bursa has many mosques, both large and small. The Bursa Grand Mosque is one of the oldest and grandest and it was built early on in the Ottoman period, between 1396 and 1400 in the Seljuk style which is quite a different architectural style to the Blue Mosque of Istanbul for example. The Green Mosque is another of Bursa’s older mosques, completed in 1419.
Beaches and Hot Springs
In Bursa you can visit both beaches and hot springs, and both are popular pastimes! There are some very nice beaches on the outskirts of the city while inside the city hot springs and thermal baths are great for relaxing after a day of sightseeing!
As Bursa was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire there are numerous tombs and mausoleums of Ottoman sultans throughout the city. One is the Muradiye Complex which is a beautiful complex consisting of a mosque, a bath, gardens and a fountain, plus the tomb of Sultan Murat II and 11 others containing his relatives.
When Should You Visit?:
For sightseeing Bursa is best visited during the spring, summer and autumn when temperatures are warm to hot. Unless you are coming for skiing winters are best avoided as they can be cool and damp.