Uludağ (Mt Olympus), Bursa

Uludağ (OO-loo dah, “Great Mountain”), the Mount Olympus of the ancient province of Bithynia, rises 2543 m (8343 feet) to the south of the historic center of Bursa.

teleferik (cable car) east of the city center usually takes you to the summit for hiking (or just some fresh, cool air) in summer, and for skiing in winter, but legal problems and the plan for a new cable car system stopped the lift from operating in September 2013. Ask if it is in operation again.

Dolmushes also depart from the city center and drive the 23 km (14 miles) to the summit.

Plan a minimum of three hours for a visit to Uludağ by cable car, and preferably 3-1/2 or four hours, allowing time for the ride up and back down (1 hour), waiting time for transport (1 hour) and an hour to see the scenery at the top.

If the cable car is running, take a taxi, or a city bus or dolmush marked Teleferik, eastward (a 15-minute ride from the center of Bursa) to the cable car base station. The ride to the summit takes 30 minutes. In foul weather (especially wind, rain or fog), the cable car may not operate.

When you enter the cable car, try to get a place at the rear of the car, as that will give you the best panoramic views.

The cable car stops at Kadıyayla, half-way up the mountain, before continuing to the top at Sarialan (1635 meters/5364 feet).

Sarıalan has some snacks-and-drinks stands, some walking trails (patika), and a campground administered by Uludağ National Park. The campground is usually fully booked well in advance.

Sarıalan is not the summit. It’s 6 km (3.73 miles) from Sarıalan to the Hotel Zone (Oteller Mevkii) where skiers congregate in winter and nature-lovers and business conferences in summer. The summit is visible from the Hotel Zone.

To drive your own car to the summit, tire chains are required (Zincir takmak mecburidir) from December to early April when there is snow or ice (which there usually is).

—by Tom Brosnahan


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