Nestled on Uludağ’s mountainside a dozen kilometers above the town of Kestel lies the hidden little village of Saitabat (Güvercinlik). Surrounded by plane tree forests, fruit orchards, and honey farms, the village itself is a sleepy little burg consisting of not much more than a mosque and a handful of houses overlooking Bursa’s valley plain. Though it’s a pretty village with stately homes and well-tended gardens, its real claim to fame is the şelale (waterfall) just a couple hundred meters down the road.
At Saitabat, the mountain stream makes an impressive fall into a deep, narrow canyon. When the water level is low enough in the canyon, the shallow, rocky stream bed gives children the chance to play in the water and allows visitors the opportunity to walk right up to the fall and wade into the fall’s collection pool. The cold mountain water makes for some welcome refreshment on a hot summer day.
Tea shops offer tea and baked goods on the road just above the stream, and local farmers sell fresh fruit and natural honey while craftspeople offer handmade jewelry, knitted clothing, and other trinkets from booths lining both sides of the road. On the weekends, kids can enjoy pony rides and a chance to get photographed with a friendly parrot.
Saitabat is also a great place for a good meal. In a large, rustic-looking building just above the stream, the Saitabat Village Women’s Society serves a full family style village breakfast (köy kahvaltısı) in a quaint, traditional atmosphere. And along the stream just below the bridge, Şelale Dere Restaurant serves up village breakfasts and grilled fresh alabalık (trout) and other meats in its lovely streamside gardens.
For a nice place to spend an afternoon out of Bursa’s center, consider a trek up to Saitabat. With good food, lovely scenery, and a chance to play in the cold mountain stream, Saitabat makes for a nice mountainside escape.
Notes on Saitabat
The most convenient way to get to Saitabat is by car or taxi. However, city bus D/19 runs four times per day from Arabayatağı metro station via Kestel’s town center.
- Saitabat can get a little busy on the weekends as it is a popular stop for city slickers and tour groups. If you’re averse to crowds, aim for a weekday.
- For a brief history of the Saitabat village, see this article in Today’s Zaman.