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Bursa itself is somewhat of a living museum. As you walk the streets, visit the historical sites, shop the bazaars, and engage the people, you get the sense that life here is how it has been for generations. You can learn a great deal about Bursa’s culture and history simply by observantly milling about in downtown or visiting a few of Bursa’s UNESCO locations.
That said, Bursa boasts a number of small, well-curated museums that shed light on the city’s history and culture and are well worth the visit.
Some things to know about Bursa museums:
- Most of the city’s museums are closed on Mondays.
- Most museums are relatively small (no Topkapı Palace here!) and can be explored in about an hour or so. It is possible to visit a number of the city’s museums in a single day.
- Some museums are free of charge and some charge a small entry fee.
- Though they are generally well-curated and easy to manage, most Bursa museums are only interpreted in Turkish. It does seem a bit unfortunate that museums do not offer foreigner-friendly interpretation. Some museums do offer guidebooks in languages other than Turkish. Ask at the museum’s reception desk for literature in your preferred language.
Here’s a quick look at Bursa museums…
Bursa City Museum (Kent Müzesi)
Located in the city center next to the Atatürk statue (Heykel) in Cumhuriyet Square. This is the city’s flagship history museum and traces the city’s 7,000 years of history, from pre-Roman to modern day. Nicely curated.
Atatürk House Museum
Located on Çekirge Caddesi. This house was gifted to Atatürk in 1923 by the Bursa city municipality. Atatürk returned the house to the municipality in 1938. In 1973, the house was opened as a presidential museum.
Turkish Islamic Arts Museum (Türk Īslam Eserleri Müzesi)
Housed in the 15th Century madrasah in the Yeşil (Green) Külliyesi near Yeşil Mosque. This museum showcases various types of Islamic art specifically relating to Bursa and Turkey. Pieces date as far back as pre-Ottoman periods.
Hünkar Pavilion (Hünkar Köşkü)
Located on the mountainside in the Temenyeri area above Setbaşı. This chalet was reconstructed in 1859 as a vacation lodge for Ottoman sultans. Currently consists of a museum, a garden, and a nice café with a great view of the city.
Tofaş Anatolian Car Museum and Clock Museum (Anadolu Arabaları Müzesi ve Saat Sergisi)
Housed in an old silk factory in the Umurbey neighborhood. Bursa is Turkey’s auto manufacturing center. In 2002, Tofaş (now Fiat) opened this museum to trace the history of transportation in Anatolia. An impressive clock and watch collection is housed in the adjacent hamam.
Archaeology Museum (Arkeoloji Müzesi)
Located on the south side of Kültür Park. This museum focuses on preserving local artifacts from 3000 BC to the end of the Byzantine era. Museum houses art, coins, ceramics, metals, coins, and stone works.
Forestry Museum (Ormancılık Müzesi)
Located on Çekirge Caddesi in the former School of Forestry building. This is the first and only forestry museum in Turkey. The collection includes plant and animal fossils, maps, photos, and equipment related to forestry.
Uluumay Clothing and Jewelry Museum (Halk Kıyafetleri Müzesi)
Located in the historical Ahmet Paşa Madrasah across from Muradiye Külliyesi. The private collection of Esat Uluumay includes a large number exemplary traditional Ottoman-era garments and 400 pieces of jewelry from Bursa and the region.
17th-Century Ottoman House Museum (17. Yüzyıl Osmanlı Evi Müzesi)
Located across the street from Muradiye Mosque. This traditional Ottoman house reveals the typical lifestyles and living conditions of Ottoman nobles in the 17th Century.
Hüsnü Züber House
Located across the street from Muradiye Külliyesi. This 19th-Century Ottoman home formerly served as a state guest house and Russian consular office. Restored and opened as a private museum in 1992 by Hüsnü Züber.
Located on Çekirge Caddesi. This museum pays tribute to Karagöz and Hacivat, Bursa’s famous and enduring shadow puppet characters. Includes puppet collections, a library, and a shadow puppet theater.
Bursa Press Museum (Basın Müzesi)
Located in Ataevler on the west side of the city. This museum, sponsored by the Bursa Journalism Association, is housed in the Bursa Press Culture Center and traces the history of print and other media in Bursa.
Merinos Energy Museum (Enerji Müzesi)
Located behind Merinos Congress Center. Merinos Center was once the city’s largest fabric factory. The power plant that powered the factory now stands as the city’s energy museum and is presented in its original condition.
Textile Industry Museum (Tekstil Sanayi Müzesi)
Located in Merinos Congress Center. Textile manufacturing has been a mainstay Bursa industry for centuries. Merinos Center was once the city’s largest fabric factory. This museum captures the heydays of the factory’s manufacturing.
Immigration History Museum (Göç Tarihi Müzesi)
Located in Merinos Congress Center. Bursa is a historically multi-cultural city, and this museum depicts the flow of migrants to the Bursa area over the centuries.
Ottoman Currency Mint Museum (Darphane Kültür Merkezi)
Located in the Maksem neighborhood on Pınarbaşı Caddesi. The Maksem Darphane Culture Center was one of the Ottoman Empire’s first coin mints. The building now houses a collection of coins, notes, and minting items.
Science and Technology Museum (Bilim ve Teknoloji Merkezi)
Altınova Mah. Fuar Cad. No:27 Osmangazi, next to Buttim Fair Center. This museum is a modern and interactive science experience for the family. Hands-on exhibits, a planetarium, cinemas, and special programs for all ages.
[bgmp-map categories=”museums” width=”800″ height=”400″ zoom=”12″]
Coming soon: 1326 Conquest Panorama Museum
A new, state-of-the-art panoramic museum dedicated to showcasing the Ottoman conquest of Bursa is now under construction on the east side of the city center. Scheduled to open in late 2016.
Outside of Bursa
Here are a few other interesting museums outside Bursa’s city center:
- Īznik Museum, Īznik: Houses artifacts from Nicaea/Īznik’s long history.
- Mudanya Armistice House, Mudanya: The house of the 1922 signing of the treaty that ended the Turkish-Greek War.
- Celal Bayar Museum, Umurbey Village, Gemlik: Museum of Turkey’s third president.
- Īnegöl City Museum, Īnegöl: Highlights the history of Īnegöl.
Yenişehir Şemaki Museum, Yenişehir: 18th-Century house museum.
- Misi Ethnography Museum, Misi Village: Contains period artifacts and dress, as well as Karagöz-Hacivat puppets.
- Cumalıkızık Ethnography Museum, Cumalıkızık: Contains artifacts and photos from Cumalıkızık’s history.
- Cumalıkızık UNESCO House Museum, Cumalıkızık: Showcases an old Cumalıkızık Ottoman home.