NESTLED in the northwest of Turkey, Bursa, as the erstwhile capital of the famous Ottoman empire, had all along enjoyed an enviable position in the Turkish industry (mainly due to its scores of automotive units which produce hundreds of electrical vehicles) besides its dominant role in the agriculture, culture, arts and sports fields.
But in the last couple of years, the top industrial city, also known as “Green Bursa” – due to its vast gardens and parks, and from its being in the middle of an important fruit growing region – has been slowly transforming itself into a winter tourism hub, said Sahabettin Harput, the Governor of Bursa.
Thanks to its proximity to Uludag, the largest and most celebrated winter-sports and skiing center in Turkey which is just 36 km away and easily accessible by car or cable-car, Bursa has been catapulted onto the global winter tourism scene, he stated.
An expansive ski resort, Uludag combines the traditional elements of chic alpine chalets and log fires, with fine dining, five star hospitality and relaxing spa facilities.
“Bursa is regarded as a pioneer of winter tourism in Turkey because of his traditional approach to Alpine hospitality. The city’s rich historical relevance pays homage to the opulence of the Ottoman empire and provides tourists with the ultimate winter holiday destinantion,” Harput told TTN.
“Bursa is a touristic city and is an essential historical heritage because of its geographical location, nature and history. Thanks to its Mediterranean/subtropical climate, Bursa has hot, humid summers, while winters are cold and damp, also containing the most rainfall. In the mountains; especially Uludag, it is freezing and snows all winter,” he said.
“All these years, Uludag had been the perfect winter playground for the city’s glitterati. But now we find more and more tourists flying in here to enjoy the snow adventures,” he observed.
“The major tourist attractions in Bursa include the Grand Mosque and külliye, Yesil Mosque, Emir Sultan Mosque, Yildirim Bazaar, Bursa castle and city walls, archaeology museum, Islamic works museum as well as Uludag National Park, Bursa Zoo and Botanical Garden,” he stated.
A city with multiple of layers, Bursa holds heritage for thousands of years. It creates value in every part,” he added.
According to him, Bursa is very rich in religious monuments, mosques, and tombs and Turkish baths. “One of the biggest tourist attractions of Bursa is the Yesil Cami (Green Mosque), with its carved marble doorway which is one of the best in Anatolia, the birthplace of many civilisations, empires, historic figures and legends,” he said.
A meeting point of cultures and civilisations, Turkey is one of the top ten destinations in the world, said the top official.
“Its spectacular cultural blend of East and Western influences and cultural linkages with the Middle East make the country a major attraction for GCC tourists,” said Harput.
“Istanbul is the only city in the world located on two continents – Europe and Asia. During its over 2,000-year history, it has been the capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires,” he remarked.
As the capital of the famous Ottoman empire, Bursa was an important actor in the foundation development and expansion of the empire and now as winter tourism hub it is in global spotlight,” said Recep Altepe, the mayor of Bursa.
“The cradle of the winter tourism and skiing, Uludag is also used in the summers as a hiking trail. Thus, Uludag is open all year round for tourism,” he stated. “With its melted snow under the summer sun, Uludag transforms into a totally different place altogether and has hence become the favourite hospot for nature hikers.”
“As mayor, I feel proud of Bursa’s consistent growth into a global winter tourism destination. Our objective is to become an established brand among the cities in the world,” said Altepe.
“In this direction, we have started building Bursa’s future with a variety of new projects ranging from the city’s historical heritage in particular to transportation, from infrastructure to urban renewal, culture and arts, social services and sports,” he added.
By Sushil Nair
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