Day 22: Delving into the history... of Kebab!
Bursa Travel Blog› entry 31 of 260 › view all entries
April 27th, 2010 – by: Biedjee
This former capital of the Ottoman empire is an interesting place. While basically a modern, bustling, big city, it is actually dotted with historic buildings. However, while these buildings are being preserved, there is no intend to keep these as touristic attractions, and therefore centuries old buildings have taken a place in modern day city life.
There are some Roman walls still standing in the middle of the busy city centre. The walls and cliff have now been turned into a city park and I climbed to the top of them to pay my respects to the founders of the Ottoman empire, sultans Osman Gazi and Orhan Gazi. Their bodies lie in two richly decorated tombs, which serve as some kind of mini-mosques.
Bursa has a bazaar, though unlike Istanbul this one is virtually free of tourists. This is where locals still do their daily shopping. The bazaar sprawls out over numerous small streets which have been covered so that shopping can continue in the rain as well (something quite useful, since the lovely Mediterranean weather I had had over the past few days had made way for drizzly, dreary Bursa weather - apparently this is the wettest place in Turkey).
The bazaar resembled a shopping mall rather than an oriental market, but I must say that I quite liked that.
Numerous old Khans, or Caravanserais, the hotels/trading places of the old Silk Road, have been restored and are now converted into small shopping malls or restaurants.
Bursa is also the birthplace of one of Turkey's most popular fast food dishes: The Iskender kebab. Iskender can be found all over Turkey, but Bursa is where Iskender Efendi invented the dish in late 19th century. So where better to sample it than right at the source? Even though 22 TL is quite a bit of cash to fork out for a peace of history (the going rate is between 8 and 10 TL in the rest of Turkey) I figured it was worth it for once. The place was packed with locals on their business lunch, so I figured that if it is good enough for them it is good enough for me.
Iskender kebab is Döner kebab (grilled compressed lamb meat shaved off from a huge skewer) which is served on diced pide bread, covered with tomatoe sauce and melted butter and served with grilled chillies and yoghurt sauce.
It's a bit like McDonald's; you know it is junk, but it is still nice from time to time.
There wasn't all that much more to see in the city centre. I wandered around some more Khans and a few mosques, but I couldn't be bothered figuring out the public transport to the other areas of the city. Last night's bus ride hadn't been particularly comfortable, so I opted for a relaxing afternoon writing my blog, and an early night instead.
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