The Snowy Mount Uludağ, Bursa, Turkiye

Mount Uludağ is the fabled Mount Olympus, known in Greek mythology as the place where the gods watched the Trojan war.  The peak which rises 2543 m (highest in the Western Anatolia Region of Republic of Turkiye) is located 36 km from the historic city center of Bursa, Turkiye.

In medieval times, Uludağ served as a hermitage to Christian monks, which explains why it was named Keşiş Dağı (“Mountain of the Monks”) in Ottoman Turkish. It was also this time when, in the absence of refrigators, the ice harvested from the mountain made its way to the imperial kitchen in Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace. The mountain was later renamed Uludağ, which translates “Great Mountain” (“great” being more in the sense of “grand”), in 1935, about a decade after the Turkish Republic was founded.

Because its high altitude provides cool climate, Uludağ National Park is always popular destinations during summer for picnic. When winter comes (snow starts falling from December 20), it becomes leading center for winter sports and skiing.  The visitors of Uludağ National Park are close to 1,000,000 people every year (http://goo.gl/YNVUTC).

The easiest way to reach the peak from Istanbul is taking ferry to Mudanya then Bus 3/F to Teleferik where people could get 25 minutes trip by cable car up to the peak (http://goo.gl/LzbrPY). However, the line was closed for a year since November 1, 2012 and too bad that it was still under rework and not opened yet until Alif and I visited Bursa on December 23, 2013 then we couldn’t experienced it.

After visited Yesil Cami, Yesil Turbe, Ulucami, Covered Bazaar, we walked up to Tophane to ride minibus or “dolmus” in Turkish (Google maps: http://goo.gl/maps/y5iJ6…yes, that white car at the tip of green arrow on the map is the minibus). The driver would not start driving to Uludağ until his minibus had full seats of 15 passengers at 2:45 PM. Fare = 12 TL one way, per passenger (Alif didn’t get any discount because he took one seat like me).

The trip was 50 minutes (http://goo.gl/maps/EfnPG), Alif was so excited to see snow on the roadside starting from 10 minutes after we departed from Osman Gazi Caddesi. End of December until mid of January should be the best time to go to the peak of Uludağ, because it has snow already but not too much to cause road blocks.

The dolmus dropped us in front of some shops which provided food/beverage also equipment rental (25 TL per day for one set of skis, ski boots and ski poles). They also provided skiing trainer for 100 TL per hour.

We arrived there at 3:35 PM, and the driver promised to pick us back to the city at 5:30 PM, then we had not much time.

I was so happy to see Alif enjoyed it very much (his first experience of being in snowing place not artificial one like in i-City) until sunset at 5:00 PM. His gloves and pants were wet after tried skiing and making a snow man, glad that I brought extra clothes for him to change before we traveled back to the city and continue our trip to Selcuk.

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