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Chasing World Heritage: #168, part 2 (Cumalıkızık)

The notion of the early Ottoman Empire combines Bursa and Cumalıkızık into a single entity on the World Heritage inscription. The latter lies just a couple of kilometers outside the former’s southeast edge. It is billed as the “traditional Ottoman village” and as the best-preserved waqf village in Turkey, one that was endowed to a külliye to provide it with income support, in this particular case the Orhan Ghazi Külliye (which is centered on the Grand Mosque of Bursa).

But visually Cumalıkızık has nothing in common with Bursa. It is a compact village that shows few signs of redevelopment over the ages. It is also decidedly a “show” village, where practically every door is a souvenir shop, and seemingly every resident is involved in the tourist trade. A lay visitor will find it hard to discern if any of the traditional Ottoman lifestyle remains beyond the few examples of food and drink (which, incidentally, you can find in Istanbul as well if you look for it); the aforementioned endowment to a külliye is also a theoretical concept in our days. Sloping street perspectives that suggest old but reasonably well-maintained, with splashes of color in many places, are what makes Cumalıkızık interesting.
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I’ve read in a number of sources that the narrow passages of Cumalıkızık become clogged with busloads of tourists daily. In the shoulder season, mid-morning appeared to be surprisingly tranquil. I probably did not remove even half a dozen strangers from the perspectives shown above.

An interior shot illustrates how practically every house is in the business of selling food or trinkets to the visitors.
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One of defined points of interest in the village is the so-called “Ottoman House”.
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The structure itself dates all the way back to the 14th century. The artifacts project more of a 19th-20th-century vibe, not without a collective interest but also rather obviously not illustrative of the traditional Ottoman village dwelling.
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Cumalıkızık Mosque does not sport a domed ceiling. That potentially indicative fact for a small-village mosque certainly made it another point of interest worth looking at.
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Overall, if you are in Bursa or generally in the area, you probably should not skip Cumalıkızık. An hour may be enough to get the feel for it, which could be extended by accepting an invitation to sit down for food from a local or stopping by the Ethnographic Museum. Your mileage for viewing it as either a traditional gem or a tourist trap will vary.