On the road from Istanbul to Bursa

Trip Start Mar 28, 2014
Trip End Apr 13, 2014

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Monday, March 31, 2014

The day started with a1.5 hour boat ride on the Bosphorus Straights, the main sea lane between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. This waterway is extremely busy with cargo ships and ferries that bring workers between the European and Asian parts of Istanbul. It is estimated that these ferries transport 2.5 million people a day! Quite an undertaking!

We then boarded our bus which had fewer seats, thus more leg rooml. More importantly , it offered WiFi. And it works! Unbelievable!

The drive to Bursa included a 20 minute ferry ride (to save a 2 hour additional drive). Along the way the scenery changed dramatically as we began seeing fruit orchards, groves of olive trees ( Turkey is # 5 in olive oil production) and even some newly planted vineyards. We were headed through agricultural country. Turkey produces a lot of vegetables, for domestic use and export.

As we neared the ancient city of Bursa, which originally was the capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1335 until 1413 we could see snow capped mountains in the distance. We made a small side trip to the town of Nicaea, now known as Iznik where we visited 11th century church of Aya Sofya. The importance of this city is that this is the location where the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea was held in 325 AD and which resulted in the creation of the Nicene Creed, an important part of Christian religions. The Council also determined the date for Easter. We were surprised to see how much of early Christian formation occurred in Turkey, not in Jerusalem or other more famous biblical locations.

Iznik is also famous for the famous blue Turkish tiles known throughout the world.

In Bursa we visited two very old mosques ( the Green Mosque because of its colored tile decorations and the Great Mosque), each dating back to the 14 and 15th centuries. Both were quite different than the mosques we had previously seen in earlier trips to Egypt, Oman and UAE. In addition we visited the mausoleum of the original Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed I, which is also located in Bursa.

Bursa is also the location of the Turkish silk industry, second only to China, from whom they learned the technology of silk making.
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Annette Landvatter on

The presentation of the food is just so fabulous. Since I seem to eat by color and presentation, I think all I would do is sample food!!

Great commentary Chuck.




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