Day 22: Delving into the history... of Kebab!

Bursa Travel Blog

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After a wonderful week at the Mediterranean I arrive in Bursa to find rain. Rain is not a holiday!
Tomorrow my friends Derk and Ed will come to Istanbul to visit me for a couple of days. Rather than travelling straight to Istanbul I decided to spend a day in Bursa instead. Bursa lies basically opposite of Istanbul, across the sea of Marmaris.

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.
fruit and veg market which extends beyond the bazaar


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.
one of Bursa's restored Caravanserais
I mean, I am all for preserving the past and keeping ancient buildings and traditions in place, but what they do in Bursa makes much more sense, they incorporate the historic part in a very modern city.
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 - tastes better than it looks, honest!

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.

Biedjee says:
yes, I sure did! There's even a photo of it in this blog :-)
Posted on: May 30, 2010
nurbanu says:
Have you had chnace to visit Ulu cami Mosque there ?
Posted on: May 29, 2010
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After a wonderful week at the Medi…
After a wonderful week at the Med…
fruit and veg market which extends…
fruit and veg market which extend…
one of Bursas restored Caravanser…
one of Bursa's restored Caravanse…
Iskender kebab - tastes better tha…
Iskender kebab - tastes better th…
Old Roman city walls in Bursa (now…
Old Roman city walls in Bursa (no…
View over Bursa
View over Bursa
view over Bursa: old meets new
view over Bursa: old meets new
view over central Bursa
view over central Bursa
The last remaining of Bursas cloc…
The last remaining of Bursa's clo…
the tomb of Osman Gazi
the tomb of Osman Gazi
More Roman city walls
More Roman city walls
Bazaar getting a new, modern, roof
Bazaar getting a new, modern, roof
inside the Ulu mosque
inside the Ulu mosque
inside the Ulu mosque
inside the Ulu mosque
another restored Caravanserai
another restored Caravanserai
Inside the Koza Han
Inside the Koza Han
The famous Iskender Kebabçi
The famous Iskender Kebabçi
My hotel
My hotel
Bursa Hotels & Accommodations review
probably the only budget option in Bursa
In Bursa you can find some of the best accommodation in Turkey. For that reason accommodation prices are also quite a bit higher than in the rest of t… read entire review
Bursa
photo by: Biedjee