•Writer: Murat Mert
Ibn Battuta lived between 1303–1368. After conquest of Bursa, he came to the Ottoman Empire in 1333 during Orhan Beg’s reign. Orhan was the son of Osman (Ottoman) Beg, second Sultan of the state.
He told in his book Er-Rihle about Bursa “Here it is a big city of the Turks which has long streets and good bazaars. There are gardens, vineyards and streams in this city.
Just outside of Bursa there is a hot stream. Water of this stream flows to a big lake. There are two buildings beside the mouth of this thermal water, one is for the woman and the other for the man. Weak and ill people come here from afar for healing .
He also told about a night which he spent there. He said “it is the best night he experienced in the land of Turkey.”
In Bursa, he visited Zawiye of Ali Shemseddin who was an important person among Ahis. During his visit in september twenty one of 1333, ashura day; Ali Shemseddin had prepared different kinds of dishes in his zawiye and invited high ranked commanders and whole city for a feast. They all had enjoyed the feast together. Hafezs with good voices chanted the Holy Quran and Mecdeddin-i Konevi also had lectured a very good speech (sermon). Then some students had started to semah…
Ibn Battuta also met another famous traveller Abdullah Misri in Bursa. But because of his visit to China, Sri Lanka, Al Andalus, Morocco and Sudan, he was more experienced than Misri.
He said about Orhan Bey: “Ruler of Bursa is Orhan Beg, son of Osman. This Sultan is the greatest among other Turkic rulers in terms of lands, military and assets. He holds about 100 castles. He spends his time by visiting these castles and he stays for a period of time in each of them and tries to understand their situations and needs. I heard he (Orhan) does not stay more than a month in a city, he continuosly fights with unbelievers and conquers their castles with sieges. When i was visiting Bursa and Iznik, i met this great hero and I got a lot of gifts from him.”
After Bursa, he visits Iznik. Due to a long period of siezure, the city is ruined .” The City center is also ruined and only some of Sultan’s soldiers live in it. Wife of Sultan Orhan, Nilufer Hatun commands them. She is a pious and a matured ruler.”
Afterwards he told about Turkish foods and dishes.
During his visit to the Ottoman Empire he traveled many small provinces of the State including the beautiful coastal province of Anatolia. Thus he visited the most beautiful land and the most beautiful people and described them as follows:
“Turkey is the most beautiful country in the world. God has given this land everything . The most beautiful people in the world live here and they wear cleanest clothes . They cook the best food. These are the most beautiful people God has created.”
“Turkish women don’t hide from men. They sit together and talk more than men. Turkish women are strong when they rule. They are like real chiefs of their households. If it was possible men would worship their women especially in nomad tribes. When we leave their houses they farewell like we are from their families. They even tear for us.”
He also mentioned how many religious sects lived and mentioned different characters of Turks and mentioned that he had to borrow a translator who had always companied them .
He came to the Empire during the rule of Sultan Orhan. He said “This Sultan is the greatest of the Turkmen kings in Anatolia and also the conquered the largest land and his army was well equipped with a large number of soldiers and wealth.”