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This hotel in the heart of the baths neighbourhood of Bursa has the benefit of being located right next to the wonderful Eski Kaplıca baths.
Bursa owes its wealth to commerce, being at the western extremity of caravan routes stretching all the way to Central Asia and China. In the other direction, it was the outlet for goods whose destination was Europe, and had particularly strong links with Italy. As a manufacturing centre it was famous for its silks and velvets, supplying not only the Ottoman court, but also vestments and altar cloths for ecclesiastical patrons which are now in treasures as far afield as Russia and Mount Athos.
Initially, Bursa’s prosperity derived from the sale and export of raw silk, and it did not come into its own as a producer of silken cloth until the late 15th century, by which time over 1,000 looms were recorded. The cultivation of the silkworm came even later, and the first mulberry plantations for the leaves to feed them in the late 16th century. The earlier dependency on raw silk from Iran was a cause for concern, pitting the Ottomans against the safavids in the effort to secure this commodity.
On a swift visit this spring, it was Tulip time when we left Istanbul. Leaving the army of scarlet tulips behind, we drove over the bridge to Asia and swung south to the ferry terminal at Eskihisar to cross the Sea of Marmara. On the road again and over the mountains, we passed a roadside stand selling model storks, then took a detour left to Iznik, through flowering orchards of apples and cherries, and vines pruned a metre high…
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