General Information on Bursa at the Turn of the Century

General Information on Bursa at the Turn of the Century

From the early nineteenth century onward in Europe, guide books on Turkey began to gain in popularity, in relation to the rising interest of Europeans toward Turkey. These publications contained a lot of information that are not accessible today. The most well-known among these works are the “Meyer’s Reisebücher” and “Baedeker” series, both published in Germany. We would like to discuss about Bursa during the pre-Republican era, by taking a look at the fırst edition of Baedeker in 1905 and the second edition of 1914 titled Konstantinopel and Kleinasien (Istanbul and Asia Minor).

Hotels: Hotel d’Anatolie (Proprietess, Madam Brotte), with garden and good wine; rate, 15 francs (reduction for long-term guests). Otel Nuriye, next to the Sedbaşı bridge; Hotel Bellevue, at the Jewish Stop; rates for both hotels range between 9-12 francs and the employees were indigenous;

In addition, three other hotels –The Slindide Hotel, immediately to the opposite, Hotel d'Europe and the Bellevue Hotel - were situated in Çekirge.

Transportation: From the station to the hotel (about 10 minutes) for 10 piasters (Turkish coins); half day for 30, whole day for 60 piasters. Short distances within town 5 piasters. The Ticket was valid for one hour for 10 piasters. Donkeys: half day for 10 piasters. Horses: half day for 25 and full day for 50 piasters. The above rates varied according to the high season; bargaining was recommended.

Underway constructions for electric streetcars service for the inner city and Çekirge.

Consulates: England, France and Russia had vice-consular representatives; the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was represented by an agent.

Photographs: Photography of Bursa was available in Istanbul. The Album-Guide de Brousse issued by the railroad company in 1903 could be purchased for 10 piasters.

Banks: Agents for the Ottoman Bank and the German Orierıt Bank were located in İpek Han.

Turkish Post Office: In Konak quarter the clerk who accepted the letter must be to write the name of the destination country.

Guides: (Prices varied between 6-8 francs for full days and 3-4 francs for half-days. In season, prices were higher) actually, no guide is necessary. The owner of the rented car, the driver or the donkey owner's child would take you to the main attractions that we have specified above.

This following information on Bursa is also provided in the same work: “Bursa is the capital of the province of Hüdavendigâr; that is, it is the residence of the governor. Besides the governor, a Greek Orthodox Archbishop, an Armenian Gregorian Archbishop, an Armenian Roman Catholic bishop and a Jewish rabbi are also in residence. The population of Bursa prior to 1453, when it was scattered over a wide area, was more than 100,000. By the fırst half of the 19th century, it had fallen to 70,000 and even to 35,000. Following the close of the Russo-Ottoman war (1878), the settlement of immigrants from the Balkans swelled the population once more to 90,000. Turks constitute two-thirds of this figure and Armenians, Greeks and Jews make up the remainder. A small colony of Europeans also dwells in the city. A significant proportion of the populace earns their living by silk production.  A trade school on the European model that has been re-organized provides training in this trade and raw silk is produced. About 2,000 people are employed on the more than 500 weaving looms in Bursa. The raw silk manufactured is generally exported to Lyon. Other commodities, like towels, textiles and tulle are subcontracted; this method however is being threatened by competition of European manufactures. Wine production, which no longer preserves the former quality; olive oil, opium and a variety of fruits are the principle products. The rice paddies have been dried up in conjunction with the fight against malaria. The thermal spring resorts, which should be better organized and developed, are in their present condition of little benefit to the city. Mineral resources found within the provincial borders include chrome, antimony, lead with silver content, tin, blende, borax, meerschaum and slate; but because of the lack of infrastructure little is produced....”