Bursa is situated along the northern foothills of Uludağ (Turkey’s premier ski resort). Set among orchards watered by plentiful mountain streams, Bursa is a city of brightly colored houses and winding streets dotted with fountains. It retains its Ottoman flavor and contains some outstanding examples of Ottoman architecture. We parked in Uludağ Teleferik parking (85 TRY / 24 hrs) and started the exploration of the chaotic city. It is built around the mosques, mausoleums, and other sites from its incarnation as the first Ottoman capital. It was probably founded by a Bithynian king in the 3rd century BC. It prospered during Byzantine times after the emperor Justinian I (reigned 527–565 CE) built a palace there. The city first fell to the Seljuq Turks at the end of the 11th century, but, beginning with the First Crusade in 1096, it changed hands several times. After the sack of Constantinople (now Istanbul) by Crusaders in 1204, it served as a center of Byzantine resistance. The Ottomans took it in the 1320s and made it their first great capital, but Timur (Tamerlane) sacked the city in 1402, and, when the Ottomans recovered their territory, they relocated their capital, first to Edirne (1413) and later to Constantinople (1458). Bursa, nevertheless, expanded and prospered under Ottoman rule. After the sightseeing, we took spicy döner with ayran (cold savory yogurt-based beverage) for just 26,75 TRY. Then we got our last Efes beer before sleep at Biraport.

Parking location – Bursa: 40.171844N 29.083774E (🚻 – 3 TRY, 10:00-20:00)