Bursa was once a major capital of the Ottoman kingdom. It is today one of a centrepoint for the making of silk and Bursa silk is an extremely popular fabric not unlikely located on almost the end of the Silk Route! Bursa is known for its two features, the Grand Mosque of Bursa, it’s silk and if I may add, the cats of Turkey. First of all the Grand Mosque in Bursa, is reached after the Caravan Serai, the grand bazaar and upon entrance it fills one with a certain degree of fineness since the mosque itself is an epitome of finesse. At the mosques centre is its most unique feature, a fountain! Once open to sky it’s roof, today covered in glass, the roof brings in light from above rendering the mosque with a degree of affluence. The mosque is an example of the early Ottoman architecture and is also a proponent of the Seljuk Turkish architecture. It was designed and built by architect Ali Neccar in the 1300s.
Silk of Bursa is touted to be a must have, at as the city was the terminal of the famous Silk Route, it is said that the best silk in the world, all with the cocoons, was once found in Bursa. The Ottomans literally spun the silk industry to international fame and the patterns made by the Ottomans are in trend even today, they are classic now! Today Ipek shops dot the region, and Bursa silk is markedly a luxury item, aspirational even. Gercek Ipek or 100% ipek does not mean that the silk is pure, even with a label. For let me warn you that Turkey with all its beauty and allure is a scam capital (of sorts) in the world. While one friend got pick-pocketed in the Istanbul metro, another’s phone was hacked using the airport wifi and yet another one bought a silk scarf, with a fake 100% Bursa silk tag. Though Turkey did break my recent jinx of injury on travels, but that also could be my absence from sharing my life on social media. And that superstitious thought brings me to the most intriguing part of Bursa, and in effect Turkey, its cats!
In Istanbul cats are kings, but in Bursa, cats are queens, and what royalty indeed. Outside the Grand Mosque of Bursa, after a while of debating and discussing the beauty of the mosque all supplemented by facts, we sat by the mosque to catch a breather. Deep in the discussion I barely noticed a cat climb into my lap, and when I did imagine the fright. Cats can dig their claws deep if they want to and cannot be dislodged easily. As it curled up and refused to leave I tried telling it to go, but no, that’s not what it wanted, and well cats get what they want. The blessed creature did not go, even when several cat lovers in the group tried to get it to lets say greener pasters but no, it wouldn’t budge. The Persian ladies, well they had a laugh. Cats are very well treated in predominantly Islamic countries, and the Prophet is said to have a fondness for these animals. The cats well, they seem to love me. There’s a thing or two about cat attack!