You’ll often hear Bursa referred to as Yeşil Bursa. The Turkish word “yeşil” means “green”. Yes, Bursa is full of parks and is near many forests with green trees, but it also has two important landmarks that are also “green” – the Yeşil Cami and Yeşil Türbe. These structures are part of the larger Yeşil Külliyesi, the mosque complex of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet I Çelebi. They are two defining symbols of the city of Bursa and part of its UNESCO World Heritage listing.
Yeşil Cami is a mosque built in 1412. It underwent a long restoration process in 2010. It has two minarets and a şadırvan (ablutions fountain) on the outside. Contrary to its name, it’s not actually green on the outside. Click here for a virtual tour.
Above the entrance of the mosque are intricate carvings made of sandstone. The carvings are geometric designs and Arabic script.
The first things I noticed when I entered was the octagonal fountain and the ornate decorations on the walls. The walls are adorned with blue and green tiles and gold trim. The prayer hall is a bit dark but is perfectly lit, adding to the harmony of the design.
Two side rooms housed travelers. They were decorated as beautifully as the rest of the mosque.
Behind the Yeşil Cami is the Yeşil Türbe. It’s the tomb of Mehmet I Çelebi, and yes, it’s actually green. It was built by Murat II in 1421 following the death of Mehmet I. This is arguably the most extraordinary and well-known tomb of all the Ottoman Sultans. Click here for a virtual tour.
The hexagonal building sits on a hill higher than the rest of the complex. It has a very ornate entrance made of green, blue, white, and yellow designs.
The interior is even more stunning. The tomb of the Sultan is encased in tiles with Quranic script. The tombs of his sons, daughters, and nurse are also present.
The mihrab is the most gorgeous part of the tomb and follows the beautiful decorations of the entrance outside.
Near the tomb is the Yeşil İmareti Aşevi, or the soup kitchen. From this kitchen, the poor were fed. It has been restored and is used for events.
The Türk İslam Eserleri Müzesi (Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts) is housed in the old Yeşil Medrese (religious school). It’s open every day from 10am to 5pm except Monday. Click here for a virtual tour.
The rest of the Yeşil area of Bursa is populated with colorfully restored Ottoman homes and buildings. Many have been turned into shops or restaurants.
The Yeşil area is a much quieter and more peaceful part of the old town of Bursa. To get there, walk east down Atatürk Caddesi and cross the bridge. As you cross the bridge, look to your left. You’ll be able to see the Irgandı Köprüsü, the only bridge in Turkey with buildings and shops on top. It was built in 1442.