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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Cumalikizik & Bursa - Ottoman Delight

Cumalikizik, Bursa – Ottoman Delight

Our main reason for going to Bursa was to see a 700 year old Ottoman village, Cumalikizik. It is now a World Heritage Site (WHS).   But so is Ottoman Bursa (Tophane) with its ancient walls.  With a population of just under two million, Bursa is the fourth largest city in Turkey after Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir.
 
Note that when you click on a photo (only in a post) it starts a slide show of those photos.  The main advantage is that the photos are shown much larger.         
  
Cumalıkızık: Blue House
Cumalıkızık: Blue House

Cumalikizik Ottoman Village

Kizik means a set of nearby hamlets or small villages but only Cumalıkızık (pronounced ju-ma-li kee-zik) is as well-preserved with 270 half-timbered houses.  Kizik is also the name of one of the 24 clans of Turks from Central Asia. 
  
Ottoman houses are generally two or three-story timber-framed buildings with wood-framed windows projected over the street.  The buildings are entered through a ground floor courtyard that is either soil or large flat stones.  About 180 buildings are still being used by residents.
 

Cumalıkızık Ladies
Cumalıkızık Ladies
As it is low season there were very few tourists in Cumalikizik.  There were no tour buses.  That was one reason it was enjoyable.  What made it special was talking to two local women.  It is amazing what you can communicate with just a few words and Google Translate.  One had studied a bit of English but spoke very few words.  She is 45 years old and has a 26-year old son and a 23-year old daughter.
 
I went all the way to the top as well as every side street.  They were all cobblestone and a man was keeping them clean.  In olden times the refuse water would have run down the middle of the street.


Cumalıkızık Lady and Moroccan Man
Cumalıkızık Lady
& Moroccan Man
On the way down we met two young Moroccans, a 21 year old man and a 20 year old women.  We discussed what life was like in Morocco compared to Turkey and how things were changing among young people in both countries.  The youth have pretty much adopted a modern culture; whereas there are many people still dressing in traditional clothes such as the trousers spread by the horse-riding Turkic people to the west. 
 
The man has been studying at Bursa University for 3 years but the first year was learning Turkish.  He seemed fluent.  So he acted as interpreter when we met the two women again. We had a great time as they could now communicate with us.
 

Cumalıkızık Family going home
Cumalıkızık family
going home
Why is Cumalıkızık a WHS?  It is not because they have superb architecture.  If that is what you expect you are going to be disappointed.   To see a more prosperous version of an Ottoman village go to Safranbolu, which is described later in the trip.  Since Cumalıkızık is a rural village you cannot expect exceptional architecture.

Was it a must-see?   It brought back memories of the poor villages we saw hiking in the Himalayas with the aromas of burning firewood and little tea houses along the way.  What is unique is that the whole village was preserved from 200 years ago.  There are few ugly modern buildings to spoil the atmosphere.   Plus it is surrounded by all that green space including Mount Uludağ.  There were also many birds at Cumalikizik even though it was not yet spring.


Tophane, Bursa


Tophane's Ottoman Walls
Tophane's Ottoman Walls
In the afternoon we went to the district of Tophane (old Bursa) on top of a low hill. It has better kept Ottoman houses than Cumalıkızık plus the old city walls. It is the reason that Bursa is also a WHS.  Again we thought we were lost but ended on 2 Kavakli Caddesi. There were Ottoman houses plus the stone façade Haraççıoğlu Madrasa with a popular tea house.

The hotel staff told us to go to Üftade Türbesi ve Cami.  It was located just a bit south on a side street to the east before the city gate.  It was not the tombs and mosque that were interesting.  It was the little park behind them where there was a viewpoint.  Below us were remnants of the old city walls and people scurrying around the streets.  No one told us Bursa is built up a mountain on one side. Also walk through the gate to Yokush Caddesi to see the walls from the outside.  After that we went to the clock tower in the park off Hasta Yurdu Caddesi. It was not remarkable but it had 200° view of the modern part of the city.
     
Kapali Çarşi Silk
Kapali Çarşi Silk
From there we went to the Covered Bazaar (Kapali Çarşi) off Ataturk Caddesi. There were lots of expensive fashion and jewelry shops.  It is still a centre for the any silk trade.  The capture of Bursa marked a turning point for the Ottoman Empire.  In 1335 Bursa became the first Ottoman capital.  That is why Bursa was the major terminus of Silk Road

Finally we went for supper to Çiçek Izgara (meaning flower grill), which is a block away from the bazaar near a park and flower (çiçek) shop area. The prices are in the TRY 12 to 14 range, half of what we paid in Istanbul. The meal was very good. 
 

Kapali Çarşi Gold
Kapali Çarşi Gold


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Green Mosque, Bursa (Day 5)

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Pergamon Acropolis (Day 7)