Although Bursa's Great
Cami) is the city's largest,
the Green Mosque (Yeşil
Cami, YESH-sheel jah-mee) is
its architectural gem,
exemplifying the movement from the Seljuk
Turkish hypostyle Ulu
Cami to the great domed
mosques of Edirne and Istanbul.
The Green Mosque, commissioned by
Sultan Mehmet I Çelebi and finished
in 1424, is set on a promontory overlooking
the valley (now urban sprawl). It takes
its name from the green-blue tiles
of the interior.
of marble richly worked, was once sheltered
by a columned porch which,
along with much of the mosque, was
destroyed by earthquake in 1855. (The
main part of the mosque was authentically
rebuilt, but the porch was not.)
the portal, reached by a small staircase
inside, is the sultan's loge (hünkâr
mahfili), decorated in gilded
tiles, but usually not open to the
The mosque's domed central
hall is flanked by rooms
to left and right that were used
for both prayer and for conducting
affairs. The main
prayer hall is the room
with the 15-meter (49-foot)-high mihrab (prayer
||Harmonious interior of
the Green Mosque...
Behind the mosque to the south is
the pretty, harmonious octagonal Green
Tomb (Yeşil Türbe).
The tomb was covered in blue tiles
during restoration work in the 1800s.
It is again under restoration (2008).
If you have the chance to glance inside,
you'll see the richly tiled cenotaphs of
Sultan Mehmet I and his family.
Just down the hill to the west of
the Green Mosque is Bursa's Turkish
& Islamic Arts
Museum, set up in the historic medrese (theological
college) that was part of the mosque
complex. It has a good collection of
historical objects and art, and is worth
seeing for the building itself.
To the east of the Yeşil Cami complex,
uphill a short ways through the cemeteries,
is the Emir
You can walk downhill from the Green
Mosque complex to the center of Bursa
in 15 to 20 minutes, or take any passing
—by Tom Brosnahan
of the Green Mosque.
Below left, the domed central
hall with ablutions
fountain, and the prayer
hall with mihrab.