Bursa‘s pleasant Covered Market (Kapalı Çarşı) is much smaller than Istanbul‘s 4000-shop labyrinth, but it’s only the centerpiece of a much larger Bursa bazaar districtlaced with narrow streets, many of them covered to protect shoppers from bad weather.
Wander through Bursa’s Covered Bazaar, just off the Koza Park next to the Great Mosque (Ulu Cami), and don’t miss the handsomest of the hans: the İpek (Silk) Han, the Koza (Cocoon) Han, and the Emir (Lord’s) Han.
The narrow streets harbor a dozen hans (caravanserais), old Ottoman workshop-and-warehouse complexes arranged around a courtyard and sealed by massive armored doors.
Silk is the strong point in many shops. Silk was Bursa’s prime cloth trade for centuries, and although much of the silk now on sale comes from elsewhere, the variety and selection are still impressive.
|Silk shop in Koza Han|
When I first came to Turkey in the 1960s, silk was still being raised in commercial quantities around Bursa. In April the farmers would buy their silkworms and set them to eating mulberry leaves.
By May or June they had spun theircocoons (koza). Huge sacks of the valuable cocoons would soon fill the Koza Han to be haggled over by farmers, brokers and buyers.
Of special interest is the Eski Aynalı Çarşı (“Old Mirrored Market”), which was actually built as a hamam(Turkish bath), but later converted to shops. Drop in at Karagöz Antikacı, an antiques and handicrafts shop that also carries Karagöz shadow puppets.
—by Tom Brosnahan
|What to See & Do in Bursa|