Bursa Ulucamii or The Bursa Great Mosque is the City’s Largest Mosque:
In the old city centre of Bursa, just next to the Bursa City Museum, is the Bursa Ulu Camii or the Bursa Great Mosque, a large rectangular structure with twenty domes. Bursa Ulu Camii is the largest mosque in the city of Bursa and its twenty domes were supposedly built to represent the twenty mosques which Sultan Bayezid I had promised for winning the 1396 Battle of Nicopolis.
Bursa Ulu Camii
Bursa Ulu Camii was built from 1396 to 1400 on the orders of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I. Guarded by two minarets, the external view of the Great Mosque is quite plain but once you step inside, impressive arches, columns decorated with exquisite Islamic calligraphy and many other features show the magnificence of this mosque.
In the center of the mosque is a beautiful three-tiered marble fountain (şadırvan) where worshippers can perform ablutions before doing prayers. Over this fountain, an oculus in the central dome lets in soft light which plays on the turquoise colour of the fountain’s water pool, as well as provides lighting to the mosque.
Best Islamic Calligraphy
All around the Great Mosque are wall inscriptions, written by famous Ottoman calligraphers. These are said to be the best examples of Islamic calligraphy in the world and even if we don’t understand the inscriptions, we can appreciate the beauty of the writing.
The glass encased minbar to the right of the mihrab is made up of interlocking wooden pieces – no glue or nails are used.
Visiting the Great Mosque
There were many worshippers in the mosque at the time of our visit, but there seems to be an acceptance that there will always be visitors roaming the mosque during their prayer sessions and they were not the least distracted. Of course the polite thing to do is to go about quietly and not get too close to where prayers are in session.
Of the many mosques that we’ve visited in Turkey, I particularly like the Bursa Ulu Camii for its exquisite calligraphy and the cooling marble fountain. In fact all the features in the mosque work together to provide for a peaceful and contemplative ambience.
Bursa Ulu Camii