About an hour and a half from Eskişehir is the city of Bilecik. It’s a sizable city, but all of the interesting sites are focused around the gorge that the city was built around. I stopped for a couple hours to check them out. The fact that the bus station is conveniently located very near all of the sites makes it an easy point to hop off for a bit.
I arrived at the bus station and made my way towards the gorge across the street. My first stop was the Saat Kulesi (Clock Tower). It was built in 1907 by Sultan Abdülhamit II. It’s situated in a nice park with historical photos of Bilecik.
Next, I walked down a street on the edge of the gorge. In the middle were a few broken minarets and the ruins of mosques. These are remnants of the Turkish War of Independence. The mosques were destroyed by the Greek army.
From the road I got a great view of my next stop, the lodge of Şeyh Edebali, the Sufi spiritual leader of the Ottoman Empire. He was an advisor to Ertuğrul Gazi and later Osman Gazi. He shaped many of the policies of the Ottoman Empire that lasted throughout its history. He supposedly lived a very long life, from 1206-1326, and is buried in the lodge. The mosque you see in the picture is the Orhan Gazi Camii.
Once at the complex, I realized it was under construction. I ignored the warnings and walked around anyway. Not much was accessible, but there are some beautiful views from the lodge at the top of the hill.
In a small park outside of the complex, Edebali Parkı, is a monument to the Turkish Republic. It features reliefs of important events in Ottoman and modern Turkish history. There are tea gardens and many stalls selling Turkish souvenirs and foods such as gözleme. Because of the construction at the complex, all were closed. Across from the park, a chain hanging from the rocks is labeled “historic chained rock” but I have no idea what the significance is.
The most enjoyable thing I did in Bilecik is the nature walk through Bilecik Gorge. I followed a path that began outside of the Şeyh Edebali complex. As I began walking a light rain started to fall making the path very slippery. It took me along a creek at the bottom of the gorge and continued up the side of a cliff.
I wanted to continue but I ran into a little roadblock. I decided to cut my losses and went back to the bus station to head to my next destination, Osmaneli.
Getting to Bilecik is simple. There are several buses that pass through on the route between Istanbul and Eskişehir. It should be very easy to find a ticket. I came from Söğüt, which has buses to and from Bilecik hourly. You can find the Söğüt-Bilecik bus schedule here (in Turkish). You can also find a co-op that runs frequent minibuses between Bilecik and Osmaneli at the bus station.