Ottoman province of Hüdavendigar
Seljuks commenced their conquest of Anatolia from 1071 onwards, they
began settling their new lands with Turkish tribes from further east.
When the Seljuk Empire weakened and began to fall apart in the
thirteenth century, numerous small Turkish principalities sprang up, one
of which was the Ottoman Beylik in northwest Anatolia. The Ottomans
expanded rapidly as they conquered additional lands from the Byzantines.
of the Ottoman Beylik was Osman Bey, who was born in the town of Söğüt
in Bithynia in 1258. In 1299 he conquered Bilecik, Yenikent, İnegöl
and İznik, and this is the year regarded as the founding of the
Ottoman Empire, which was to survive for over six hundred years. As
Osman Gazi gained in strength, the Byzantine governor of Bursa Atranos
sought assistance from the governors of Kestel and Kite. Their united
army joined battle against the Ottomans at Koyunhisar in 1301. The
Ottomans were victorious.
resolved to take Bursa, and began preparations to besiege the city in
1317. First he had to cut off its link to the sea, for which purpose he
built a fort near Kaplıca and appointed his nephew Ak Timur its
commander. His slave Balabancık was given command of a second fort
in the mountains behind Bursa., so cutting off access to the city on
either side. The Turks then demolished the fort of Atranos Beyce and
made their encampment at Pınarbaşı. Leaving the command
of the army to his son Orhan Bey, Osman Gazi returned to Yenikent.
siege lasted eight years, and meanwhile Osman Gazi fell seriously ill
and could no longer fight. He ordered his son Orhan Gazi to take Bursa,
and Orhan began by taking Evrenos Fortress. The governor of the fortress
fled into the rnöuntains. Orhan Gazi sent Mihal Bey to the governor of
Bursa demanding his surrender. The governor sent a gift of precious
clothes and forty thousand gold sovereigns as a gesture of submission,
and after consıilting his father Orhan Gazi allowed the governor to
leave the city with his family and entourage. They made their way to
Gemlik on the coast and sailed for Istanbul. In 1326 ' the
Turkish army entered Bursa.
reached Osman Gazi on his deathbed, and he died happy in the knowledge
that his greatest goal had been achieved. The capture of Bursa marked a
turning point for the Ottoman Empire. Orhan bin Osman, who had been born
in 1281, the year that his grandfather Ertuğrul Gazi died, was now
the second Ottoman sultan. Orhan Gazi's elder brother one day advised
him to do three things. The first was to strike coins in his name, the
second was to wear clothing which would distinguish him from his
subjects, and the third was to form an army of infantry soldiers to be
paid out of the treasury. Previously coins had been struck in the name
of the Seljuk sultans, but in 1328, following his brother's advice,
Orhan Gazi became the first Ottoman sultan to mint his own coins. He
also introduced white uniforms for his soldiers, in place of their
former red and black apparel.
1335 Bursa became the first Ottoman capital. Orhan Gazi ruled for nearly
35 years until his death in 1360. He was succeeded by his son Murad, who
had been born in 1326. Sultan Murad Han bin Orhan bin Osman Gazi was the
third Ottoman sultan, and became known by the cognomen Hüdavendigar.
1362Murad captured the city of Edirne (Adrianople). One night Murad Hüdavendigar
dreamed that a white bearded man with a radiant face told him to build a
palace in Edirne. A great palace was immediately built and in 1363 the
Ottoman capital moved from Bursa to Edirne, although Bursa retained its
spiritual and economic importance.
Bayezid Yıldırım (the Thunderbolt) founded a hospital in
Bursa where the hot mineral springs of the city featured largely in the
treatment of patients. When Timur's armies captured Bursa in 1402, they
destroyed and burnt many of the medreses (colleges), mosques and other
monuments of the city. In 1429 further disaster struck, this time in the
form of plague which decimated the population. In 1482, when Cem Sultan
was fighting for the throne against his brother Bayezid, he ruled in
Bursa for just eighteen days, but in this brief time struck coins in his
name. In the battle against the army of his brother Bayezid II, Cem's
forces were defeated and he fled the city.
Ottoman architecture of Bursa has a distinctive style with close
parallels to that of the Byzantines. With the conquest of the Byzantine
lands of the region many local masons, carvers and other artisans
continued to work for the Ottomans. The Byzantine influence which they
brought to the new buildings of the Ottoman principality distinguished
them from those of the other Turkish principalities of Anatolia. Bursa
style lived on after the conquest of Edirne and Istanbul in 1362 and
1453 respectively, showing itself in the architecture of the early
monuments constructed in both these cities. The T plan which developed
in the fourteenth century çan be seen in almost all the royal mosques
of Bursa. The Bursa arch is another distinctive feature. This broad
flattened arch does not have great carrying strength, and is rather
decorative than functional in character.
Ulu Mosque belongs to the early Islamic style of mosque building, with a
multidomed roof supported by numerous piers and columns and a covered
court. This mosque was built by the architect Ali Neccar for Yıldırım
Bayezid in 1399. It has two large minarets and twenty domes of more or
less equal size resting on twelve square pillars, the central dome being
glazed. Inside are 192 inscriptions written by celebrated calligraphers
executed on the walls and on panels.
earliest example of Bursa style is the Yeşil (Green) Mosque, which
was built in 1419 by the architect Vezir Hacı İvaz Paşa
for Çelebi Sultan Mehmed. The tiles which lend their name to the mosque
are the work of Mecnun Mehmed. The marble carving on the façade, window
frames, door, stone inscriptions and ceiling above the door is
exquisite. The early mosques of Bursa and İznik are characterised
by plain lines emphasising spatial form, and a controlled use of
decoration. GradualHy the Ottoman decorative arts acquired their own
style, and new masters emerged. The first Ottoman nakkaş -a decorator
who painted and stencilled designs on plaster- was Ali bin İlyas
Ali, who did all the painted decoration for the Yeşil Mosque.
Mosque was constructed between 1426 and 1428 for Murad II and exhibits
all the typical characteristics of Bursa style, including a reversed T
plan. The domes and both minarets of this mosque collapsed in the
earthquake of 1855 and were not rebuilt until 1902, when the mihrab
(niche facing Mecca) and minber (pulpit) were renovated with the rococo
decoration fashionable at the time.
the west side lead up to a gateway between two columns over which is a
marble inscription consisting of a verse from the Koran. This leads into
a large courtyard surrounded by a wooden colonnade, with a şadıruan
-fountain for ablutions- in the centre. To the south stands the
mosque, whose mihrab is revetted in İznik tiles. North of the
mosque stands the tomb of Emir Sultan. Around most of the rectangular
window frames are carved mukarnas (stalactite work), and above these the
pediments are decorated with rumî scrollwork motifs.
houses built in the style which developed in Bursa over the centuries of
Ottoman nıle feature distinctive decoration. Most have fireplaces,
unlike the houses of Istanbul. Above the main windows are smaller
windows placed high in the walls with stucco tracery and coloured
glazing. Walls, ceilings, and the doors of the fitted cupboards are all
richly decorated. A considerable number of traditional houses survive in
Bursa today, and although most date from the nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries they provide a remarkable picture of the vernacular
architecture of the city.
OF THE CITY
is one of Turkey's cities that has experienced a high influx of migrants
over the centuries, and the communities of different people have each
added their own colour to life in the city. In the sixteenth century a
wave of Turks arrived here from Central Asia, for instance, doubling the
city's population between 1530 and 1575.
the city were villages populated by Greeks who had been there since the
middle ages, and during the reign of Mehmed II (1451-1481) Greek
migrants from the Morea were settled in Bursa.
from Kütahya first arrived here during the reign of Orhan Bey in the
fourteenth century. When the Armenian Patriarchate was founded in
Istanbul by Mehmed II in 1461 the Bursa metropolitan, Ovakim, was
elected patriarch. From the early nineteenth century onwards Armenians
from eastern Turkey came to Bursa in large numbers, and most of them
settled in the neighbourhood of Setbaşı. Bursa's first
newspaper, the semi-official Hüdavendigar published by the city
governor Hacı İzzet Paşa, introduced a section in
Armenian from issue 82 onwards. Although there is said to have been a
Jewish colony in
early as 79 BC, Jews first attained a significant presence in the city
after it became the Ottoman capital, when Sultan Orhan gave permission
for the Jews to build a sinagogue and their own quarter. Trade,
money-lending, tailoring and goldsmithing were the occupations in which
most of the Jews were engaged. When the Russians occupied Rumelia (the
Ottoman provinces of eastern Europe) and Caucasia during the 1877-1878
Ottoman Russian War, large numbers of Muslims from these regions
migrated to Bursa. Thirty thousand people came from Ruse in Bulgaria
alone. But the majority of the newcomers were Georgians and Tatars.
Those from Caucasia settled in the district of Yıldırım,
those from Kazan in Mollaarap, and those from the Crimea in Alacahırka.
had been Copts in Bursa since very early times, and on the spring
festival of Hıdırellez they would go to the area around the
Lime Kilns in the foothills of Uludağ and spend the day in
celebrations, in the course of which they also elected their chief,
known as the çeriba,sı. They lived in the neighbourhoods of
Kanberler and Demirkapı.
beginning of the twentieth century there were German, British,
Austro-Hungarian, Spanish, Italian, French, Belgian, Greek and Iranian
consulates in Bursa, and according to the population census caıried
out at this time 9.84% of the population were Greeks, 6.66% Armenian,
18% various others, and the remaining 65.5% Muslim Turks. In 1903 the
provincial assembly's members included Müftü Ali Rıza Efendi, the
Greek metropolitan, the Armenian Archbishop Natalyan Efendi, the
Armenian Catholic representative Arşoni Efendi, Archbishop
Artin Efendi, and Chief Rabbi Moşe Hayim Efendi. Of the 19
qualified physicians working in the city five were Turkish, and of the
17 pharmacists four were Turkish.
of the hyacinth festival was one of Bursa's colourfiıl annual
events. The people would go out to picııic in the hyacinth
meadows which suırounded the city. Women and men went separately,
women on three days of the week and men on the other four. One spring
day in 1869 when the women of Bursa were singing and amusing theınselves
in the hyacinth fields, two men joined them. The scandal was
investigated by the judicial authoı-ities and the two men inteırogated.
They said in their defence that they were strangers to the town and did
not know that it was forbidden for men to go into the flower meadows
that day. They were acquitted, but the incident was recorded in Bursa's
a rich culinary tradition that has evolved over many centuries, but it
is famous most of all for its kebab. The German general Helmut von
Moltke, who visited Bursa in 1836, wrote in his memoirs about the
delicious flavour and cheap price of this kebab: "We ate lunch in
typical Turkish style, in a kebab house. After washing our hands we ate
not around the table but seated upon it [this "table" would
have been a large cloth spread on the floor]. I did not know where to
put my legs. Then a wooden tray arrived, on which was the kebab, that
is, small pieces of mutton cooked on skewers and wrapped in bread. This
is a very delicious dish. After that came a plate of excellent salted
olives, helva, which is a sweet dish much loved by the Turks, and a bowl
of sherbet (raisins stewed in water with a lump of ice tossed in). For
two hungry diners this meal cost altogether 120 para, or five
nineteenth century Bursa, with its beautiful old buildings and luxuriant
greenery, had long since left its days as a capital city behind. Instead
it had become a city of exiles.
long years of opposition to the Ottoman goveı~ııment
abroad, Mevlânazade Rıfat came back to Istanbul and surrendered
himself to the police. The martial law court sentenced him to exile in
Bursa on the basis of a judgement reached in his absence at an earlier
date. His exile was only repealed after Sultan Abdülhamid II was
deposed on 27 April 1909. When Mehmed V Reşad succeeded him as the
thirty-fifth Ottoman sultan, the dissidents of the previous regime were
pardoned and Mevlânazade Rıfat returned to Istanbul.
Tevfik Bey, who was governor of Bursa between 1906 and 1909, recalls
some of the exiles in his memoirs. His kindness to three sisters of his
acquaintance was one of the main reasons for his friendship with Fehime
Sultan, one of the daughters of Sultan Murad V (1876). Mehmed Tevfik Bey
explains that when the three sisters, one from the house- hold of Sultan
Abdülhamid, the other from the household of Sultan Mehmed V, and their
elder sister were exiled to Bursa, he invited them to stay at his house
until they found a permanent home of their own.
of how Gazi Osman Paşa's second son Kemaleddin Bey was sent into
exile is a tragic one. Kemaleddin Bey was married to Naime Sultan, one
of the daughters of Abdülhamid II. Naime Sultan fell ill at one point,
and Dr. Hakkı Şinasi Paşa administered an injection of
cacodilate. This gave rise to a rumour that Kemaleddin Bey was in love
with Sultan Murad's eldest daughter Hatice Sultan, who lived in the
palace next door, and had instructed the doctor to inject his wife with
poison in order to marry Hatice. When this ıumour reached the ears
of Abdülhamid II he could not be persuaded that the injec- tion was
indeed for medical reasons, and arranged a divorce for his daughter.
Kemaleddin Bey was exiled to Bursa and Dr. Hakkı Şinasi Paşa
elsewhere. Kemaleddin Bey rented a house in Bursa, where he was kept
under house arrest, guarded by one of the imperial aides Major-General
Mustafa Paşa and several other officers from the sultan's riflemen.
The illustrious prisoner was allowed no visitors, even the governor
being unable to call with- out first obtaining the sultan's permission.
the death of Sultan Murad V in 1904, one of his favourites together with
a large number of women from her household were allocated pensions of 10
lira each and exiled to Bursa. It was commanded that a house be
purchased for each, and that they be married off to those who applied
for their hands. Since purchasing so many houses and settling each woman
down would be a long process, two mansions were rented where they all
lived together in the mean time.
Molla's elder brother Ali Ata was crossing the Bosphorus on a steam
ferry one day wheri he lit his cigarette from that which the stranger
seated beside him was smoking. The stranger turned out to be from the
household of heir apparent Reşad Efendi, and when this political
gaff was reported to Sultan Abdülhamid II, Ali Ata joined the ranks of
exiles in Bursa.
was another celebrated exile to Bursa at this time, and there were many
others in and around the city. Bursa's provincial clerk and director of
education were both exiles.
külliye-mosque complex- built by Orhan Gazi after the conquest of Bursa
included the city's first bedesten or exchange building, Emir Han, where
textile merchants stored and sold their wares. When the bedesten moved
to a new building constructed by Sultan Yıldırım Bayezid
(1389-1402), the other tradesmen moved into the old bedesten and
other bazaars (çarşı or Pazar)grew up in the area around it.
Hacı İvaz Paşa Çarşısı housed the felt
makers, Sipahi Çarşısı the quilt makers, Gelincik Çarşısı
the cotton carders and tailors, Atpazarı the horse and livestock
traders, Kapan Çarşısı the fruit traders, and Tahıl
Pazarı the dried fruit and nut traders. The famous Bursa cutlers
had their workshops around the Tahıl Pazarı.
addition to these there was Uzunçarşı,
Bitpazarı (the flea market), Tahtakale,
Tavukpazarı (poultry market), Bakırcılar Çarşısı
(coppersmiths market), Pirinç Han (rice market), Tuz Han (salt market),
İpek Han (silk market), and Koza Han (cocoon market). As these
indicate, trade and manufactuızng were vigorous and varied in
tradesmen and artisans belonged to guilds which exerted strict control
over trading practices. Only those trained in a trade and qualiFıed
as masters were permitted to open their own shops, and the copying of
items made by master craftsmen was prohibited.
completing a long period of apprenticeship, followed by years as a
journeyman, the artisan was finally qualified as a master. The
completion of each phase was marked by a ceremony. When an apprentice
was'judged ready to become a journeyman, his master would inform the
steward and other officials of his own guild. All the members of the
guild would then be invited to a feast at one of the excursion places
outside the town, where they wauld be entertained by wrestling matches
and other amusements. Then, to the recital of prayers, the guild
official known as the yiğitbaşı would ceremonially
gird the apprentice in the peştemal (cloth wrap or apron)
which marked his new status as journeyman.
the next step up to master craftsman did not only depend on long years
of work and acquiring outstanding skill. Since a specific number of
master craftsmen were permitted for each trade, the journeyman had to
wait until one of the masters died or retired. Then the most senior
journeyman of the guild would be ceremoniously granted the rank of
silk mill was opened in Bursa by Konstanz Bey in 1833, and a second by
Boduryan Efendi in 1843. Gradually the traditional small craftsmen made
way for industrial scale manufacturing.
economic wealth rested to a considerable extent on agriculture - vine
growing, fruit growing, dairy products, and on the olive production of
Gemlik and Mudanya. The large quantity of mulberry trees also made Bursa
an ideal centre for silk production.
the raw silk for the textile mills was a labour intensive process.
Beginning with the production of the eggs, through to hatching the worms
and the cocoon stage, all involved considerable risks. One of the worst
disasters was pebrine, a disease affecting silkworms which broke out in
France and spread to Bursa in the 1860s. As a result output plunged, and
many producers went out of business and began to uproot the mulberry
orchards. Then the news arrived that a cure for the disease had been
discovered in France, and unaffected eggs were imported. Production went
smoothly only for a while, before the disease broke out again.
need for technical knowledge in the silk production sector became
evident, it was decided to open a school for this purpose. Known as the
Silk School (Harir Dariılttalimi) it opened on 2 April 1888 in a
house rented from Kazaz Ahmet Muhtar Efendi in the neighbourhood of
Şehreküstü in Bursa. The first students graduated in 1889. Soon
afterwards the school moved to a larger building in Setbaşı, a
house belonging to Burdurizade Osman Efendi. In 1894, when it moved into
a building constructed near Maksem, the school was renamed the Institute
of Sericulture. Torkumyan Efendi was appointed principal of the
institute, and as well as training large numbers of silk technicians he
introduced the Pasteur technique of egg production which gave a valuable
boost to Bursa's silk industry.
the main textile manufacturing centre of the Ottoman Empire. In the
early 1850s Bursa had fourteen textile mills equipped with steam driven
machinery like their counterparts in Europe, and there were a further
two in Mudanya. In Bursa there were around 150 to 200 looms weaving
tulle, and pure and mixed silk fabrics.
traditional looms used in Bursa were extremely simple, consisting of a
rectangular wooden frame on which the weft threads were stretched, and
two cylinders for rolling up the fabric as it came off the loom. Lead
weights kept the threads balanced and in tension as the alternate
threads were pulled forward by a foot pedal for the shuttle to cross
between them. Apart from the weights every part of the looms was made of
fabrics were celebrated far beyond the borders of the Ottoman Empire.
They were exported as far afield as China, and filled the markets of
Hungary, Poland, Italy and the Balkan countries. In the sixteenth
century rich fabrics woven in Bursa from silk, wool and silver and gold
thread were used for clothing worn by the Ottoman sultans and princes.
Bursa fabrics included velvets, the velvet brocade known as çatma-which
was also woven in Bilecik and Üsküdar, diba- a brocade
incorporating gold thread, and a fine taffeta known as canfes.
weavers of Bursa had their own guild which inspected the bales of cloth
before they could be sold, and stamped those which were up to standard.
Those which did not pass inspection were confiscated. Each weaving shop
specialised in one particular fabric type. Cotton yarn imported from
abroad was subjected to similar close inspection before being put up for
sale each Saturday in the market held in the courtyard of Ulu Mosque.
Silk cocoons were sold at Koza Han.
foreign competition began in the eighteenth century the Bursa weavers
were forced to produce fabrics more cheaply, and their quality gradually
Missionary School In October 1834 American Protestant missionaries began
establishing schools in Turkey. They first opened a secondary school for
boys in Pera in Istanbul, followed over the next five years by schools
in İzmir, Bursa and Trabzon. Their curricula followed those of
American schools, and they quickly won popularity. The American Girls
School in Bursa had seventy pupils in four grades. In 1893 the lessons
taught were Greek or Armenian and English, arithmetic and geography
being taught in Greek or Armenian, and geometry, botany, physics,
astronomy and history in English.
Military High School
school was established in 1845 on the orders of Sultan Abdülmecid on
the site which is today Heykel Meydanı square. It subsequently
moved to a new building whose lower floor was of stone and upper floor
of wood in the district of Işıklar. The new building was
inaugurated by city governor Münir Paşa on 10 June 1892. A second
building was added in 1894, and the number of pupils increased to five
hundred. In 1911 a school hospital was added. During the Greek
occupation following World War I the building was used as stables by the
Greek forces. The school reopened on 11 December 1922. Işıklar
Hill from which the district took its name, was originally known as Âşıklar
or Lovers Hill, which in time was comıpted to Işıklar or
technical school first opened on 10 April 1869 in a mansion called Türkmenoğlu
Konağı in the neighbourhood of ~ilibos. Two years later it
moved to a new building in Tophane. At first the pupils were oıily
taught weaving, and they made fabric for gendarme uniforms. Subsequently
shoemaking was added to the curriculum, and tools and teachers were sent
from Istanbul. In the early twentieth century French and music lessons
were added and a school band formed. In 1906 a shop was opened on Hükümet
Caddesi to sell the shoes and fabrics made by the pupils. The school
became the pride of the city, and local people raised funds for
improvements. A lottery was held, and a livestock sale at Atıcılar
was organised, at which a percentage of each purchase was donated to the
school. Again in 1906 Necip Efendi of Bursa and Mirat Efendi of Istanbul
obtained a licence to sell European made cigarette papers under the name
Hamidiye Technical School Cigarette Paper, on which the profits also
went to the school.
1885 a boys' seeondary school known as Mülkiye İdadisi was
founded, and in July 1888 its fırst five graduates matriculated.
Three more grades were added to the original four in 1891, and between
1901 and 1904 a chemistry laboratory, dormitory, refectory, and
recreation room were added. In 1909 it became known as the Mektebi
agricultural college was opened in March 1891 by city governor Mahmut
Celaleddin Paşa to give boys practical training in agricultural
technology. Known as Hüdavendigar Model Farm Agricultural College; it
was built on land belonging to Topal Mehmed Ağa in the village of
Hamitler. It accepted twenty pupils the first year, and for many years
around fifteen boys graduated annually.
1904 Mülkiye İdadisi had 325 pupils,
Hamidiye Technical School 150 and the
Agricultural College 78. In 1905 a teacher training school known
as the Hamidiye Medresesi Muallimini opened, and this was later renamed
to the Byzantines A letter written by Plinius, the first Roman governor
of Bursa appointed by the Emperor Trajan early in the second century AD,
tells us that there were no baths in Bursa prior to that time. During
the reign of the Eastern Roman emperor Justinian I (527-565)when a major
building programme was carried out in Bursa, baths were built at Pythia
(today Çekirge) so that the public could take advantage of the hot
springs there. More baths were added over the centuries and Bursa became
one of the most important spas of the Byzantine period.
under the Ottomans
seventeenth century Turkish writer and traveller Evliya Çelebi
declared, justly, that Bursa consisted of water. The two-domed baths at
the spa built by Justinian were enlarged by Sultan Murad Hüdavendigar
(1360-1389) who had another two domed section added. Over the centuries
people came from far and wide to bathe in the hot mineral water here.
They included members of the imperial family and household, notables and
diplomats from Istanbul, foreign princes travelling in the region, and
foreign scholars, writers and statesmen. Over the four years that Mehmet
Tevfik Bey was governor of Bursa, for instance, he was host to the Duke
of Holstein, brother-in-law of Wilhelm II of Germany, and his wife on 6
May 1906, to Prince Victor Napoleon of the Bonaparte family on 7 June
1908, and to Duke Carl Edward Saxe-Coburg and his wife on 4 July 1908.
hamams consist of an entrance hall, a tepidarium, and the washing hall
itself known as the halvet. The Ottoman poet Arif wrote of these baths,
Bathing in the life giving water
Cures the ills of many
At Bursa's spa.
a letter to his father written during his sojourn in Turkey in the
1830s, Helmut von Moltke wrote: "I have already told you of the
pleasures of the Turkish hamams. In Bursa the water is not artificially
heated, but is by nature so hot that at first one cannot believe that
one will live to survive immeı~sion in the large, clear pool
without being scalded. There was a wonderful view from the terrace of
the hamam which we entered and it was so comfortable that we were
reluctant to leave."
the nineteenth century Bursa was capital of the province of Hüdavendigar,
which consisted of the districts of Balıkesir, Karahisar-ı
Sahip and Kütahya, and the sub-provinces of Gemlik, Pazarköy,
Mudanya, Yalova, Karamürsel, Tirilye, Bilecik, Lefke, Gölpazan, Söğüd,
Mihaliç, Kirmasti, İnegöl, Yarhisar, Yenikent, İznik and
province had three main ports on the Marmara coast: Gemlik, Yalova and
Mudanya. Gemlik stood at the end of the gulf between the mainland and
Bozbunın headland, which was the tail-end of the Samanlı
Mountains. This port had been famous for its shipyards for centuries. Geınlik
Harbour was sheltered from the northwesterly wind and so provided
shelter to ships caught in storms. The port of Yalova further to the noıth
had the disadvantage of poor road connections. The busiest port of the
three, with convenient access to Bursa Plain, was Mudanya, with a
hinterland filled with mulberry woods, olive groves and vineyards.
According to Evliya Çelebi Mudanya was named after the daughter of
Constantine the Great.
1850s the journey by sea from Istanbul to Mudanya took eight hours in
calm weather. When the northwest wind was blowing a gale, high waves off
Bozburun forced small ships to shelter in the mouth of the gulf until
morning, so they did not arrive at Mudanya until the following day.
arriving at Mudanya by ship took horses for the last part of the joumey
to Bursa. Their way passed through orchards and vineyards, and for a
long time the delightful view of the Marmara Sea was visible in the
distance. Then as the traveller began the gradual descent from the hills
the view of the sea disappeared, to be replaced by the sight of a city
rising above a plain with many cypress trees. The city climbing the
steep forested lower slopes of Mount Olympos had more than one hundred
white minarets and domes. Nearing Bursa the traveller came to a bridge
over the Nilüfer river, which wound its way between gigantic walnut
trees with their dark leaves, pale green planes, verdant meadows and
mulberry groves. Each step nearer to the city brought fresh scenic
the second half of the nineteenth century the Ottoman government
realised the crucial importance of constructing a railway across the
country, and in 1871 an edict was promulgated for a main line from
Istanbul to Baghdad. The Asian Ottoman Railway Company was founded, and
a German engineer named Wilhelm von Pressel appointed its director.
Pressel planned to begin the line at Haydarpaşa at the southern
mouth of the Bosphorus. An independent line between Bursa and its port
Mudanya was also envisaged, and the tracks for this local line began
from Mudanya and reached Bursa in 1874. The tracks alone cost 185,000
Ottoman lira (4,200,000 French francs) and there was no money left to
complete the work. Not until 17 years later, in 1892, was the project
completed and the line put into operation by the Ottoman Railway Company
owned by Monsieur Nagelmakers who purchased operating rights.
took just two hours for the train from Mudanya to reach Bursa's Acemler
Station. Since the railway was run by a foreign company the timetable
was designed according to Western time, which led to confusiori (Turkish
time divided day and night into twelve equal hours, which varied
according to the length of daylight). The railway company hung up a
notice on 5 September 1892 warning passengers that the timetable was
based on Western time, but eventually gave into popular demand and
adjusted the timetable to Turkish time.