Built in the 14th century, the impressive Grand Mosque (Ulu Cami) is the largest mosque in Bursa. It’s located in the center of the Old City and is a prime example of early Ottoman architecture with elements of Seljuk architecture, including two minarets, 20 domes, fine wood carvings, and nearly 200 calligraphic inscriptions.
Sultan Bayezid I commissioned architect Ali Neccar to construct the mosque, whose dim-lit interior lends it an intimate and contemplative air despite its large size. Inside the mosque is a traditional fountain beneath a skylight that lets in gentle, filtered light, and the walls are covered with striking calligraphy by myriad contemporaneous artists.
Some private and small-group tours visit the Grand Mosque and Bursa as a day trip from Istanbul. Independent travelers in Istanbul can reach Bursa by ferry or bus.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Grand Mosque is a must-visit for history, architecture, and religion enthusiasts.
- The mosque is an active prayer space and is closed to visitors during prayer times.
- To enter the mosque, women must cover their heads, and everyone needs to cover their shoulders and knees.
How to Get There
The Grand Mosque is centrally located in the Old City neighborhood of Bursa, not far from other attractions in the city center. You can take a ferry or long bus ride from Istanbul to Bursa, or make it simpler and book a day tour that includes round-trip transport to and from the city.
When to Get There
The Grand Mosque is open to the public daily, though is closed to non-Muslims during prayer times, which are usually listed in front of the mosque and posted online. Fridays as well as religious and Turkish holidays have longer prayer times and fewer hours open to non-Muslims.
Calligraphy in the Grand Mosque
Bursa’s Grand Mosque is most noted for its calligraphy. The 192 panels of calligraphy that grace the mosque walls comprise a renowned collection of 14th-century Islamic calligraphy styles. Pay attention to the many different presentations and techniques presented by the 41 calligraphy artists who created the displays.