Monday, April 25, 2011

Turkey (2008): Bursa, Bergama


Bursa is the fifth largest city in Turkey. There are no great attractions here, but it's still a nice place to make a short stopover. Bursa is almost 240 km far from Istanbul. It has good connections, the journey takes over three hours, the ticket costs 20 YTL. Bus station, as nearly everywhere in Turkey, is located 10 km from downtown. Bus ticket to the center costs 2 YTL, buses run frequently.

Statue of Atark, father of the modern
Turkey, in Bursa

There aren't many hotels and guest-houses in the center, but you can find nice places hidden in side streets, so there's no noise, the double room costs 30-40 YTL.

Tourist information office is located opposite the Galleri, the staff is helpful, provides you with all the information you need and free maps.
*Bursa is famous for its mineral waters, the most famous baths are: 
Eski Kaplica and Yeni Kaplica.
*Mosque and the Tomb of Murad I - those places were under renovation, so I can't write much about them.
Kültür Parkı, Arkeoloji Müzesi - Park of Culture and the Archaeological Museum; open Tues-Sun 8-12 and 13-17, closed Mon, admission: 25 kuruş
; a bit distant from the center.
*Muradiye Külliyesi - complex which consists of a mosque, madrasah and beautiful gardens; open 8.30-17.30, free donations; on the road between Park of Cultural and the center.
*Ulu Camii - Great Mosque, free admission (except for hours of prayer).

*Yeşil Camii and Yeşil Turbe - Green Mosque and Green Mausoleum; open 8.30-12, 13-17; the most beautiful buildings in the city; the terrace offers a breathtaking panorama; about fifteen minutes on foot from the center.
Tombs of local rulers in Bursa

The shopping center is as elsewhere in Turkey - Çarşı, or Bazaar. We buy here tons of T-shirts. At one stall they have such a choice as in the whole Tandeta shopping center in Krakow. At night we go to the pub. This day there's probably some important match on TV, there are crowds everywhere. Finally we come to a place where we find a table. Although we're in the Islamic country you can legally drink beer and even vodka or cognac, and nobody looks at you as you were a sinner.
We have also time to go to hamam. This is a place for tourists. But we don't regret. We are scrubbed and cleaned like never before. Whoever invented a hamam had a great idea.


Bergama is a small town, with 70.000 inhabitants. We take a bus from Bursa, it's about 290 km. Tourists usually come here just to visit the ruins of the ancient Pergamon, and leave. We decide to stay, to smell a small-town atmosphere.

Ruins of the ancient Pergamon

Bus station is located at the southern end of downtown, but many buses coming from other cities leave passengers on the outskirts. You have to make sure if a bus you're going will take you to the bus station or just to the motorway junction. Ideally, of course, choose the first option. From the station to the center free buses run every half hour between 7.40 and 19.40.

There aren't many hotels here; you can find a place in a guest-house for YTL 20 per person.

Tourist information is located at the İzmir Caddesi no. 54.
*Bergama is the ancient Pergamon, so as you might guess, the tourists are interested in the ruins of the ancient city. The two largest clusters are Asklepion and Acropolis; open 8.30-17.30; paid separately 20 YTL. They lie about 8 km from the town. You can choose an organized trip (so do most of the tourists) or go by taxi or bus from downtown.
Kızıl Avlu - Red Basilica, one of the seven churches of Asia Minor mentioned in the biblical Book of Revelation by John; open 8.30-17.30, entrance 3 YTL.
*Archaeological Museum; open Tues.-Sun 8.30-12 and 13-17; admission 3 YTL.

Red Basilica in Bergama
There's not much to do in the evening in Bergama. We go to probably the only bar though that name for this place is a little exaggeration. As befits the small town women don't go to such premises. Unshaven men at the tables drink mostly anise vodka, some of them have beer. It's gray from the smoke. Finally a place for real men! They look at us a little strange, apparently they don't often see strangers here. The bartender is a bit surprised when we order the fourth round of beer, probably wondering from where we come that we drink so much. We order some big kebabs which could feed the whole family.


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