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The town became a major center with the creation of a local pottery-making industry during the Ottoman period in the 17th century (known as the İznik Çini, Çin meaning China). Iznik tiles were used to decorate many of the mosques in Istanbul designed by Mimar Sinan. Bursa or Prousa, the first capital of the Ottoman State between 1335 and 1413. The city was referred to as Hüdavendigar (meaning “God’s gift”). Home of The shadow play characters Karagöz and Hacivat based on historic personalities who lived and died in Bursa. Bursa is also home to some of the most famous Turkish dishes such as İskender kebap, specially candied marron glacés, peaches and Turkish Delight.
Istanbul – Bursa
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Iznik was historically known as Nicaea. The Byzantine city is estimated to have had a population of 20,000–30,000 but in the Ottoman period the town was never prosperous and occupied only a small fraction of the walled area. A succession of visitors described the town in unflattering terms. After his visit in 1779, the Italian archaeologist Domenico Sestini wrote that Iznik was nothing but an abandoned town with no life, no noise and no movement.
Depart Istanbul and explore the heritage of Iznik, formerly known as Nicea. Our tour will start with a visit to the town center and the ruins of the St. Sophia Cathedral. At the entrance you can admire the marvelous mosaic work with figures representing Jesus Christ and the saints. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Iznik was the center of exquisite ceramic ware production, which has made such an important decorative contribution to mosques and palaces throughout Turkey. We visit the important Islamic buildings in town, such as the turquoise tiled Mosque and the Nilufer Hatun Imareti, ‘Soup Kitchen of Lady Nilüfer’, now Iznik Museum that houses the finds from the nearby excavations. We continue to Bursa and begin the tour of this city by the Yesil Turbe ‘Green Mausoleum’ and the Yesil Mosque ‘Green Mosque’ that reflects the new Ottoman aesthetics. A Medrese nearby is also home to the Ethnography Museum. Before exploring this area, we stop for a glass of tea in one of the traditional teahouses. We proceed to the back of the Koza Park where the Koza Han houses the trade in silk cocoons. After Lunch We explore the nearby covered bazaar area ‘Kapali Carsi’, with its narrow streets, caravanserais and Bedesten, vaulted market enclosure, before returning back to Istanbul. (L)