Bursa, a Spiritual andTolerant City

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Some travellers visiting Bursa were interested in livesof dervishes and their lodges especially at P›-narbafl›. Many travellers have observed way of Dervishlife in Bursa and participated in rituals. J. H. A.Ubicini is relating this feature of Bursa as follows:”Bursa is like a temple or a place of pilgrimage inthe eyes of Ottomans. Just as Baghdat, it is worththe praise of ‘Burcu’l-evliya’. However, Baghdad isan Arab city and Bursa is a pure Turkish city.”Baptistin Poujoulat has said: “Among the cities ofIslam I have seen until now, I consider Bursa as acity absolutely Asian. Some cities of Ottomans havechanged to nothing in pursuit of resembling Europeancities, but Bursa, has conserved its Easternaspect and the poetry of Qu’ran”. And Evliya Çelebisummarizes the poetic aspect of Bursa in thesewords: ” Bursa is a city of spirituality”.Although Bursa was thought to be a place where Islamictraditions were strictly obeyed, it was also aplace where the non-muslims could visit withoutany dificulties. Carsten Niebuht had visited Bursain 1767 and said: “In the little small mosque at theinn, there was an Armenian playing a drum for informingthe other about the prayer hours. Seeingthat view really made me feel comfortable”. Thenthe same traveller, has told that a muslim staying inthe same inn with him has smoked tobacco amongthe others.According to Perrot (1864), Turks of Bursa wereused to seeing Europeans because of their silk tradeand they were not fanatics: “They were allowingEuropeans in their mosques by smiling faces”.Warsberc in 1869 points out a more significantexample: He thinks of the pillars with crosses onthem in one of their Mosque in Tophane as a signof absolute tolerance. “I asked to the people in Europe,mostly to the ones who complain of Turks’ intolerance,if you would conquer their mosques andrealize rituals in these places, would you keep thetu¤ra (sign of Ottoman sultans) and the crescentthere as well? There I saw that they kept these crossfigures among marbles for centuries and this is notbecause they respect them. No. They didn’t carvethem out or destroy them because they think theirbelief do not permit them to destroy remnants of adifferent religion.”.