Mosques (called cami in Turkish) are some of the most prominent and significant buildings in Bursa, and they are a central part of Bursa’s life, culture, and history. Most of them—especially the historical ones—are welcoming to tourists, and visiting a mosque or two can be an important part of your Bursa experience. It would be unfortunate to walk by Ulu Cami’i (Grand Mosque), one of Bursa’s most important landmarks, and not step in for a glimpse.
If you’re not accustomed to visiting a mosque it can seem intimidating at first, but it doesn’t have to be. I remember the first time my wife and I visited Ulu Cami’i, a young woman in the back of the room caught my wife’s eye and with a smile and a nod whispered in heavily accented English, “Welcome.” My wife appreciated the kind gesture.
When visiting Bursa mosques, be aware that there are a few procedures you’ll want to follow, and many of the historical mosques in Bursa display a list of visiting guidelines outside the door. It would be good to take a moment to read these before entering. Here are some general guidelines for visiting a mosque in Bursa:
- Take your shoes off before entering, or even before stepping onto the carpeted step leading into the mosque. You can put your shoes on the shelf just inside the mosque entrance. Socks and bare feet are fine; shoes aren’t.
- Wear appropriate clothing. Men, you should wear full-length pants (not shorts). If you are a woman, you should wear a long skirt or loose-fitting pants and be sure your top fully covers up to your neckline. You should also loosely wrap a scarf around your head to cover your hair.
- Inside the mosque, be quietly respectful as people may be praying or reading at all times of the day. You may take photos as long as you remain respectful toward the worshipers.
- You may visit anytime during open hours except during scheduled prayer times.
If possible, we suggest visiting a mosque with a local resident—especially if it is your first time in a mosque. Not only will you likely feel a bit more comfortable, but your local friend will be able to explain some of the things you will see and experience inside the mosque.
These are some of the city’s historical mosques you may want to visit as you wander around Bursa:
- Ulu Cami’i (Grand Mosque) is a must-see. Built in 1399 by Sultan Bayezid I, its domed architecture and intricate interior paintings are impressive. A UNESCO site.
Yeşil Cami’i (Green Mosque) is known for its green and blue interior tile work. It was built in 1421 as part of the külliye (social and religious complex) of Sultan Mehmet I. A UNESCO site.
- Yıldırım Cami’i is part of the Bayezid Yıldırım Külliyesi and was completed in 1395. A UNESCO site.
- Orhan Bey Mosque was built in 1339 as part of the original külliye of Orhan Gazi. A UNESCO site.
- Emirsultan Cami’i was originally built in the 15th century and was reconstructed in 1804. It is unique with its lovely large courtyard.
- Muradiye Cami’i, built in 1426 by Murat II, was recently reconstructed along with much of its surrounding külliye. A UNESCO site.
- Hüdavendigar Cami’i in Çekirge was built in 1363 by Murat I and features a second-floor madrasah (religious school). A UNESCO site.
As you tour Bursa, do be sure to step into a couple Bursa mosques and experience this important aspect of the city’s cultural and historical heritage.