Çekirge

A little ways outside of the historic city center of Bursa is a neighborhood called Çekirge. The area is mostly residential but has a few worthy places to visit.

The I. Murat Hüdavendigâr Camii is an interesting looking Ottoman mosque built in 1363. It has a second story with an arched balcony and one minaret. It’s definitely different than any other mosque in Bursa with this design. Click here for a virtual tour.

I. Murat Camii in Çekirge, Bursa, Turkey

I. Murat Camii

The inside is pretty plain but has a fountain in the prayer hall. This mosque, part of the UNESCO World Heritage listing in Bursa, was undergoing restoration when I visited.

I. Murat Camii in Çekirge, Bursa, Turkey

I. Murat Camii

Across the street from the mosque is the I. Murat Türbesi. It holds the remains of Sultan Murat I. He died in 1389 and was buried across from the mosque that bears his name. He was killed by Serbian knight Miloš Obilić in Kosovo during the Battle of Kosovo Polje. His internal organs are buried on the battlefield in Kosovo.

I. Murat Türbesi in Çekirge, Bursa, Turkey

I. Murat Türbesi

I. Murat Türbesi in Çekirge, Bursa, Turkey

I. Murat Türbesi

The Karagöz Müzesi is a museum that pays tribute to the famous shadow puppets born in Bursa. Karagöz and Hacivat are the two main characters. Karagöz is the vulgar and unintelligent character while Hacivat is more level-headed and logical.

Karagöz Müzesi in Çekirge, Bursa, Turkey

Karagöz Müzesi

Karagöz Müzesi in Çekirge, Bursa, Turkey

Karagöz Müzesi

It isn’t clear when or why the puppets were actually created, but a popular theory told to me by many of my students is that the two main characters were real people. According to legend, they were construction workers on a mosque project in Bursa. They were always arguing and distracting the other workers, in turn slowing down the construction process. A local official became angry with them and had them both executed. They were loved by the other workers for their comic relief, so to pay tribute to their memory, the puppets were created.

Karagöz Müzesi in Çekirge, Bursa, Turkey

Karagöz Müzesi

Karagöz Müzesi in Çekirge, Bursa, Turkey

Karagöz Müzesi

The puppet shows are popular during Ramazan in Turkey. They also spread to the rest of the Ottoman Empire and are especially popular in Greece, where the play is known as Karagiozis (Καραγκιόζης).

Karagöz Müzesi in Çekirge, Bursa, Turkey

Karagöz Müzesi

Karagöz Müzesi in Çekirge, Bursa, Turkey

Karagöz Müzesi

Getting to Çekirge shouldn’t cost more than 20TL by taxi from the city center. You can tell the driver to let you off at Çekirge Meydanı. All of the sites are within walking distance from there.

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