Tombs of Osman and Orhan Gazi

600 years old tombs of Osman and Orhan are in Tophane Park overlooking the city of Bursa. The western mausoleum houses the tomb of Osman Gazi (1258-1323) and the eastern one memorializes his son Orhan Gazi

Bursa, Turkey

Coordinates: 40.186737, 29.057375

The present tombs of the original founders of the Ottoman state, Osman and Orhan, are structures erected in recent times. They were brought to a state beyond repair by the earthquake that leveled Bursa in 1855; following which time they were constructed in their present form after the complete removal of the original buildings.

The original tomb buildings are known to have been, essentially, a centuries-old utilization of one or several very ancient Byzantine structures dating to the period prior to the conquest of Bursa.

Between 1325 and 1349, the Arab traveler İbn Battuta, visited Bursa during his journey through Anatolia when Orhan Gazi was in power and he mentioned the tomb of Osman Gazi in his book of travels. After describing Orhan Gazi, Ibn Battuta states that, “His father seized the city of Bursa from the hands of the Byzantines and his tomb is in the small mosque of Bursa. This structure was formerly a Christian church and later converted into a mosque.” When İbn Battuta arrived in Bursa, it had only very recently been captured, so that we may accept this record as a reliable source.

This place has great symbolic significance for the Turks. Bursa is the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, and Osman is its first ruler. According to legend, Osman bequeathed his son Orhan, who was lying next to him, “to be buried under the silver dome” in Bursa, which then belonged to Byzantium. Orhan fulfilled his will – after a long siege, Bursa, founded according to legend by Hannibal, was taken and became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. However, what we see now is not the silver dome. The terrible fire of 1801 reduced two-thirds of Bursa to ash, and the earthquake of 1855 destroyed the remaining and restored one.

The current tomb is a new structure rebuilt in Ottoman baroque style by Sultan Abdül Aziz in 1863. It is not difficult to find out where someone is buried. Osman’s tomb is more richly decorated.