Bursa, Turkey

General Information

Regional secretariat


Administrative status

Large city in Turkey, located in northwestern Anatolia, within the Marmara Region

Bursa and Cumalıkızık: the Birth of the Ottoman Empire

Registration Year


Historical function

Social, religious and commercial

Location and site

This property is a serial nomination of eight component sites in the City of Bursa and the nearby village of Cumalıkızık, in the southern Marmara region. The site illustrates the creation of an urban and rural system establishing the Ottoman Empire in the early 14th century. The property embodies the key functions of the social and economic organization of the new capital which evolved around a civic centre. These include commercial districts of khans, kulliyes (religious institutions) integrating mosques, religious schools, public baths and a kitchen for the poor, as well as the tomb of Orhan Ghazi, founder of the Ottoman dynasty. One component outside the historic centre of Bursa is the village of Cumalıkızık, the only rural village of this system to show the provision of hinterland support for the capital.

Urban morphology

Located on the slopes of Uludağ Mountain in the north-western part of Turkey, Bursa and Cumalıkızık represent the creation of an urban and rural system establishing the first capital city of the Ottoman Empire and the Sultan’s seat in the early 14th century. In the empire’s establishment process, Bursa became the first city, which was shaped by kulliyes, in the context of waqf (public endowments) system determining the expansion of the city and its architectural and stylistic traditions.

The specific development of the city emerged from five focal points, mostly on hills, where the five sultans (Orhan Ghazi, Murad I, Yıldırım Bayezid, Çelebi Mehmed, Murad II) established public kulliyes consisting of mosques, madrasahs (school), hamams (public baths), imarets (public kitchens) and tombs. These kulliyes, featuring as centres with social, cultural, religious and educational functions, determined the boundaries of the city. Houses were constructed near the kulliyes, turning into neighborhoods surrounding the kulliyes within the course of time. Kulliyes were also related with rural areas due to the waqf system.  For example, the aim of Cumalıkızık as a waqf village, meaning that it permanently belonged to an institution (a kulliye), was to provide income for Orhan Ghazi Kulliye, as stated in historical documents.

The exceptional city planning methodology is expressed in the relationship of the five sultan kulliyes, one of which constitutes the core of the city’s commercial centre, and Cumalıkızık which is the best preserved waqf village in Bursa. This methodology developed during the foundation of the first Ottoman capital in early 14th century and expanded until the middle of the 15th century.

Registration criteria

Criterion (i): Bursa was created and managed by the first Ottoman sultans, through an innovative and ingenious system, which developed an unprecedented urban planning process. […]

Criterion (ii): Bursa, as the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, was of key importance as a reference for the development of later Ottoman cities. […] The new capital, with its social, religious and commercial functions reflects the values of the society and the values it accepted from its neighbours, during long years of migration from central Asia to the West. This is also reflected in the integration of Byzantine, Seljuk, Arab, Persian and other influences in architectural stylistics.

Criterion (iv): Bursa and Cumalıkızık illustrate the first capital of the Ottoman Sultans, rulers of an Empire reaching from Anatolia to Yemen and including parts of Europe and North Africa for hundreds of years, which developed a unique architectural plan called “Bursa style” or “inverted T plan”. […]

Criterion (vi): Bursa is directly associated with important historical events, myths, ideas and traditions from the early Ottoman period. […]

Source: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1452/




Mr. Alinur Aktas

Mayor of Bursa
Bursa Metropolitain Municipality

Zafer Mh. Ankara Yolu Cd. C Blok No:1 K:6
Bursa, Alemdar, Turkey

(+90 224) 441600
[email protected]

Mr. Abdülkadir Karlik

Deputy of Mayor of Metropolitan Municipality
Bursa Metropolitan Municipality

Atatürk Road Uçak Street No:1 BP: 16020
Bursa, Osmangazi, Turkey

(+90 224) 280 90 41
[email protected]

Prof. Dr. Neslihan Dostoglu

Site Manager
City of Bursa

Ataköy Campus, Bakirköy 34156
Bursa, Turkey

(+ 90) 212 498 42 82
[email protected]

Ms. Ceren Pala

Department of Culture and Tourism - Historical and Cultural Heritage Branch
Bursa Metropolitan Municipality

Bursa Site Management Unit, B Block Floor : 5
Bursa, Turkey

[email protected]

Ms. Eser Çalikusu

Department of Culture and Tourism - Historical & Cultural Heritage Directorate - Bursa Site Management Unit
Bursa Metropolitan Municipality

+90 224 248 88 68 / +90 224 223 91 89
[email protected]

Mr. Aziz Elbas

Head of Culture and Tourism Department
Bursa Metropolitan Municipality

Zafer Mah. Ankara Yolu Cad. No:1
Bursa, Osmangazi, Turkey

(0224) 716 16 90-91 / (0224) 221 20 48
[email protected]