Cumalıkızık, centuries-old Ottoman heritage
Bursa’s Cumalıkızık neighborhood, which rose to fame with all the Turkish TV series and films shot there, awaits the end of the coronavirus pandemic to go back to its old days
Cumalıkızık carries the traces of the Ottoman Empire to this day, with 700-year-old Ottoman civilian architecture vivid and sturdy to the present day in the northwestern province of Bursa. It perhaps witnessed pandemics and outbreaks, just like today’s, throughout its history.
“Bursa and Cumalıkızık: The Birth of the Ottoman Empire,” which was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014, consists of six components including the Hanlar Region that covers Orhangazi Complex and its surroundings, Hüdavendigar (I. Murad) Complex, Yıldırım (Bayezid I) Complex, Green (Mehmed I) Külliye, Muradiye (Murad II) Complex and Cumalıkızık.
Cumalıkızık lies within the boundaries of central Yıldırım district of these components and later got the status of a neighborhood, hosting approximately 50,000 people a week during the tourism season, mostly on Saturdays and Sundays.
Founded as a “foundation village” in the early Ottoman period, Cumalıkızık provided income for the construction of the complexes and the first capital. It is among the best examples of the Ottoman lifestyle with its traditional stone paved street texture, houses built with wood and adobe and monumental structures.
In the neighborhood that has gained popularity thanks to the TV series and movies shot there in recent years 270 historical houses, walkways, a museum, some 60 food and drinking venues and nearly 150 gift stalls, most of which are run by women, are now closed because of the epidemic.
The residents of the neighborhood, who are not used to this level of silence in Cumalıkızık, are counting down the days for the historical region to regain its the busy old days.
Residents pray to go back to old days
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, an artisan in Cumalıkızk, Nuri Yavuz said that they want the epidemic to come to an end soon and return to the old days, adding, “We were selling our own products such as tarhana, jam, noodles and village bread to the visitors. There are those who are engaged in agriculture in our neighborhood, but the majority of our livelihood is from tourism.”
Another resident, Şerife Hanım Sezer, said that she was born in Cumalıkızık and had never seen this village like this before.
“My neighbors were making bread to make money. Everyone closed their stalls. There is nobody left. I hope this situation will end as soon as possible and tourism will revive,” she said.
Hatice Adıyaman, who was selling gift products before the pandemic, said, “It was hard to walk on these streets in the past. But now there is nobody. Plants began to grow on the streets. We pray that this disease will end and our village will return to its old days.”