Grand Mosque is in Bursa city center, on Atatürk Street. It was built by Yıldırım Bayezid, one of the Ottoman sultans, and was completed in 1400. Its architect is thought to be Ali Neccar. Its ownership belongs to the General Directorate of Foundations.
There is a legend about the construction of the mosque. According to the legend; When Yıldırım Bayezid was victorious in the Battle of Niğbolu, he decided to have twenty mosques built. When he came to Bursa, he told this idea to his son-in-law, Emir Sultan, and recommended that a mosque with twenty domes be built instead of twenty mosques. The location of the mosque was also shown to Emir Sultan with a spiritual sign in his dream, and the next day, the place of the mosque was determined by seeing that the grass had grown in this marked place. The decision was notified to the Sultan, and the Sultan saw this as appropriate and started the construction of the mosque. The mosque was built with the loot won in the Niğbolu victory.
Another legend about the Grand Mosque is about its fountain; It is told that during the construction of the mosque, there was a house belonging to an elderly woman in the place of the fountain, and since she did not sell it willingly, the statesmen did not take it by force out of respect for Islamic law. This house has been left open, provided that it is outside the place of prayer. It is rumored that this place was included in the mosque after the death of the woman. The current fountain, located in this empty place, was built by Karaçelebizade Abdulaziz Efendi, who came to Bursa from Istanbul as a political exile in the following years. Traveler Evliya Çelebi states that in the 1640s, trout were swimming in this beautiful pool whose water came from Uludağ. The water of this fountain, which boils from a single center as if to express the unity of Allah from the top, pours into the pool and flows from thirty-three different places as if glorifying Allah.
The first imam-orator of the mosque was Süleyman Çelebi, the author of Mevlid-i Şerif. The famous event that led him to write the Mawlid-i Sharif took place here. While the preacher, who went up to the podium after the afternoon prayer in Ramadan in 1409, was interpreting the verse “There is no difference between the Messengers…” (Baqara 285), one of the congregation objected, “Even if there is no difference between them in terms of prophecy, my prophet Hz. Muhammad (saas) is superior to all in virtue.” says. This issue becomes a matter of debate. Süleyman Çelebi, who witnessed this speech, from that moment on, Hz. He decides to write his Mawlid-i Sharif, which describes the virtues of the Prophet. Mevlid-i Sharif is written in Turkish and has about a thousand couplets.
The black cloth hung on a high place on the right side of the Khutba is the cover of the Kaaba door. Yavuz Sultan Selim, who became the caliph after the Egyptian Campaign, undertook repairs in Mecca and changed the cover of the Kaaba with a new cover sent from Istanbul. Yavuz brought the old cover to Bursa and gave it to the Ulu Mosque as a gift and carried it with his own hands and hung it. This cover, on which the verses were embroidered with pure gold thread, remained undecorated for centuries; however, the verses can only be seen under bright light today, as the embroideries were lost due to the dampness of the mosque as a result of some faulty restorations.
Grand Mosque, which is a unique structure in Ottoman architecture in terms of its construction style, is a rectangular planned structure measuring 55,00 x 69,00 meters. Its total interior area is 3.165.5 m2. It is the largest of the mosques in Turkey called “Ulu Cami”. The wall where the mihrab is located is larger than the other wall. The top of the dome in the middle of the mosque, which is covered with twenty domes on twelve pillars, is open. In recent years, this opening has been covered with glass. Its walls were completely built with smooth cut stone.
Timur, who defeated Yıldırım Bayezid in the Ankara War, came to Bursa with his armies and destroyed the northern door of the mosque by burning it. It was burned by Karamanoğlu Mehmet Bey by piling wood around it. Eighteen domes of the mosque collapsed in the earthquake that occurred in 1855, and only the dome at the bottom of the western minaret and the dome in front of the mihrab remained standing. In a fire in 1889, the wooden cones of the minarets were burned, and then they were rebuilt as masonry. During the repairs in 1959-1961, the plastered walls were scraped and the door on the north was rebuilt in accordance with its original form. Major repairs were made in 1494, 1503, 1551, 1563, 1567, 1572, 1668, 1670, 1724, 1742, 1815, 1855 and 1861, and it gained its present appearance.
The mihrab, which looks rich with stalactites arranged in eight rows bearing the traces of the 14th century, and hourglass-shaped colonnades on the outer corners, was completed in 1751. The name of the master Mehmet, who made the mihrab, is written on the left side. The minbar, which is made of walnut wood and painted in black, is a rare work of art, which is the most beautiful and artistically processed in the mosque. The 0.40 x 1.00 meter inscription on the door states that it was completed in 802 H. (1400) by the order of Yıldırım Bayezid. The minbar was built by Haci Mehmet b. It is the work of Abdulaziz al-Dukki. The text giving this information was written vertically on the right handrail of the pulpit. Made with Künkedar Art. It is a work created by interlacing by carving geometrically without the use of glue and nails. It has some projections on its eastern face, and these are said to be the solar system and planets. This minbar is a masterpiece of transition from Seljuk style to Ottoman style.
The high and plain muezzin mahfil, sitting on eight elegant columns, was built in 1549. The round stone lectern carved from a single piece of marble placed on the foot opposite the mahfil was built in 1815. The mosque has three gates in the east, west and north directions. Of these doors, the ones in the north and west directions are new, and the door wings in the east were built in the same period as the mosque. Wooden wings are made of walnut wood. Although some parts are damaged, it has survived to the present day. Wings decorated with carved and interlaced geometric motifs, in accordance with the pulpit of the mosque, bear the characteristic feature of the 16th century. The view of the crown door opening to the courtyard in the north increases the majesty of the work one more time. Its hood consists of stalactites arranged in eleven rows, and a wide and simple molding surrounds its bright niche.
The windows of the mosque are different in terms of shape and size on each facade, and their jambs are plain marble. There are small openings called “breathing” in the window pediments. A lower row of windows in the south wall were later closed. Top row windows are not on the same axis as lower row windows. Wall thicknesses are different from each other. The east is 2.80 meters, the west is 3.10 meters, the north is 2.40 meters and the south wall is 2.20 meters thick.
The calligrapher’s signature is under most of the plates adorning the inner walls of the Great Mosque. The deficiencies of the majority of them were corrected or rewritten by Calligrapher Şefik Bey. Inside the mosque, there are 87 inscriptions on the wall, 105 in plaques and 192 in all, by 41 calligraphers with 13 different fonts. There are also very valuable clocks, candlesticks and Qurans.
The mosque has two minarets on the east and west corners. The minaret, located in the west, was built by Yıldırım Bayezid. The base of the minaret adjacent to the mosque is completely made of marble and its body is covered with bricks. There are two ways to reach this minaret, from outside and from work. One ascends to the domes, the other to the balconies. The cherubs are the same in both minarets and are arranged with six rows of brick stalactites. There are three fountains in the courtyard of the mosque. It is estimated that the fountain inside the mosque was designed in the first years of the Ottoman Empire, due to the Turks’ interest in water. The sixteen-cornered pool is filled with water poured from the three-bowl fountain in eight branches and distributed to the taps. The axis of the mihrab and the axis of all three doors meet at the center of the fountain.