Tombs located in Bursa reflect the evolution of its structural type in a five-century time span that extends from the reign of Orhan Gazi to the Era of Reforms (Tanzimat), which began in 1839. Bursa, in particular is famed for its numerous tombs belonging to the early Ottoman sultans, statesmen and Islamic saints. Moreover the Muradiye complex in Bursa constitutes-with the complexes of Shah Zinde in Samarkand Eyüp Sultan in Istanbul-one of the most venerated tomb groups of the Turkish Islamic world.
The oldest of the tombs at Muradiye belongs to the founder Murad II (d. 1451); most of the others date to the second half of the fifteenth century to the early sixteenth century (the reigns of Mehmed II and Bayezıd II). The hapless princes of Ottoman history-Jem Sultan, the son of Mehmed II who died in exile (Naples) in 1454, and Şehzade Mustafa, who was killed at Karapınar of Konya province in 1553-are also buried here. Significantly, these princes, who were beloved by the people and whose deaths led to a negative response by the public, were buried in Bursa rather than in Istanbul.
Garbed by the “Sufi temperament” of Ottoman architecture, the great and small tombs at Muradiye, whose arrangement is informal and conforms to no strict geometrical: scheme, lie in a tranquil garden shaded by centuries-old plane trees, accompanied by the sound of the water sprayed by jets lightly splashing in the pools, which-unlike other cultural milieus where cemeteries are almost always frightening and cold-is undoubtedly one of the most pleasurable funerary settings imaginable.
One matter that must be noted is that, with the exception of the Yeşil tomb in Bursa, almost none of these structures possess a crypt level (for mummies), such as can be seen in Seljuk period tombs with pyramidal roofs. In other words, following the disintegration of the Seljuk dynasty and culture, the tradition of the pyramidal tomb structure of Central Asian origin, which is associated with pre-Islamic Turkish custom, is abandoned in the Ottoman lands by the first quarter of the fourteenth century. The Bursa tombs fall into two groups: Open and enclosed tombs.