This style of mosque architecture—a big stone square or rectangle topped by small domes—is characteristic of the early Seljuk Turkish empire. Bursa‘s was built from 1396 to 1399 with money provided by Sultan Yıldırım Beyazıt (1360-1403).
Though plain on the exterior, the Ulu Cami (OO-loo jah-mee) has the impressive portals typical of Seljuk architecture, and is quite grand on the inside: a forest of mighty square columns supporting a cloud of arches and domes.
At the center, a glass-covered opening lets in ample light, providing a central visual focus within the large space.
|Bursa‘s Great Mosque |
Though simple, the design is well suited to Muslim worship, providing a vast covered space that can hold thousands of worshippers in a lofty atmosphere.
People are always wandering in and out of the Ulu Cami, most for prayers but some just to enjoy its grand ambience. It is large enough that even at prayer times a visitor from abroad may not be noticed, though it’s most polite to plan your visit outside of prayer times.
—by Tom Brosnahan