Bursa... One of the oldest and most important cities in Turkey. It has been told by Homeros as Mysia, served as capital of Ottoman Empire for 28 years, and now it's the fourth populous city in Turkey. Bursa is known for its Uludag Mountain, Iskender Kebap, thermal waters, cable car, shadow plays and its industry as well as its cultural aspect. When we have checked our family archives we found a lot of photos which has been taken in Bursa from 1930s to 1970s. Here on this article we would like to share with you the connection of our family with Bursa, and the stories of some photos which have been taken here by Vafiadis, Koulurgioti and Cakıroglu families.
Trilye & Vafiadis Family
The ancestors of the family members mentioned in 2mi3museum were born in different cities, but they all eventually met in Istanbul. Along with Chios, Palermo, Edirne and Imbros, Bursa was one of the cities our family belonged to. The wife of Stavros Vafiadis, Efrosinni, was a lady from Trilye who was born in 1879 as a daughter of Aristokles and Marioritsa. Trilye is one of the oldest cities in Bursa which is known since 425 BC. It's also known as Brylleion or Triglia in Greek. Although Trilye came under Ottoman rule in 1330, it has remained as a Greek village for centuries. After the Turkish-Greek War, most of these Greeks immigrated to Greece and the rest left in 1923 with the population exchange.
Trilye ( Zeytinbagı ) / Mudanya
Maybe Efrossini was lucky as in 1896 she met with Stavros, they married and started to live in Istanbul as a family with nine children. This marriage may have saved her from emigration. But we don't know what happened to her parents in Trilye. Here below we would like to share with you the only photo of Efrosinni from our family archives.
Efrosinni (Vafiadis) / 1879-1953
The reason why the Vafiadis family loved Bursa so much may be their roots in Trilye, and that's why they visited this place regularly and took lots of photographs. But we cannot say for sure that this is the reason. Because with its close location to Istanbul and the beauty of its nature, Bursa has always been a favorite place of many people living in Istanbul.
1930s Vafiadis Family in Bursa : Adapalas, Ataturk Statue & Hukumet Square
The first photo which have been taken in Bursa from our family archives is from 1930s and it has been taken in front of the statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Hükümet Square. As we learned from the memories of family members, the Vafiadis family used to stay here at Adapalas Hotel all the time, and Hurmuzios Vafiadis used to visit his close friend and lawyer Halit, who lived here.
1930s, Vafiadis Family / Hukumet Square, Bursa
Adapalas Hotel is located in Çekirge, Bursa and it’s one of the oldest hotels in the city. This hotel was also famous with its thermal baths as many other hotels in Bursa.
Adapalas Hotel / Çekirge, Bursa
Let's turn back to our photo which has been taken in 1930s Hükümet Square, Bursa. Here you see Aleko Vafiadis posing with his parents, Hurmuzios and Ashen, on the stairs, in front of a statue of Atatürk on the horse and an official circle. This official circle is the courthouse and it has been planned by architect Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi in 1925. The statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk has been sculptured by Nijat Sirel and erected in the square in 29 October 1931, for the 8th anniversary of Turkish Republic. The monument, which was previously known as the "Gazi statue", was named "Atatürk statue" after Gazi Mustafa Kemal Pasha was given the surname "Atatürk".
While this statue was ordered to the artist, it was stipulated that Atatürk be on a horse, but the dimensions of the statue were left to the artist. The modeling of the statue was made in a workshop in Şişli. The sculpture is made of 12 pieces and is bolted from the inside.
On the pedestal of the statue it is written: The Turk standing in front of this holy statue, bow respectfully, it is Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who saved your nation, founded the republic and created a new history.
1940s Vafiadis Family in Bursa : Uludag, Aşıklar Tepesi and Fountains
In 1940s Vafiadis family visited Bursa regularly. As we can see from the photopraphs, Aşıklar Tepesi (Hill of the Lovers) were one of their favourite destination to have picnic and rest. Aşıklar Tepesi was located on the foot of Uludağ mountain, on the right slope on the way from Cekirge to Uludag and after passing the Kupluce Bath.
1940s, Vafiadis Family / Aşıklar Tepesi, Bursa
Also near the entrance of Aşıklar Tepesi, there was a fountain. Here below we share with you a photograph of it together with Vafiadis family.
1940s, Vafiadis Family / Aşıklar Cesmesi, Bursa
Even this fountain was known as Aşıklar Fountain because of its location, its original name is Demirci Ak Tuna Çeşmesi and built on 1941 as we can read on it.
1940s, Aleko Vafiadis with his friend / Bursa
On the photographs above which have been taken in Bursa in 1940s, we see an unknown friend of Aleko. Unfortunately, his name and who he is are gone with Aleko. Together with him, Aleko had photographs, again in front of the Ataturk statue, in some villages and in front of an old fountain.
1940s, Aleko Vafiadis with his friend in front of a fountain / Bursa
The old fountain on the photogragh, where Aleko and his friend posed in front of interesting and important. But unfortunately, we could not reach any definite information about this old fountain. Although we examined many research books, journals and theses, we could not find a record of this fountain anywhere. We are one hundred percent sure that this place is in Bursa, but since there are thousands of fountains here (according to Evliya Celebi, a quantity of 2060), it is very difficult to identify this fountain. Here above we share with you the only photo of this fountain in our family archives.
As we couldn't find any information on printed publications, we asked about this fountain in social media, such as facebook groups, twitter and instagram. The only information that we received from the citizens of Bursa was about the names of the fountain. We said names, cause some people told that it's 'Asa Suyu' and some of them told 'Aşar Suyu'. But there were still no photographs and a clear information about it. One of our followers on Instagram also searched for this fountain and shared with us an information about the meanings of the motives on it. The oyster shape, fake columns, flower rising from the pot were typical motives of westernization period ottoman architecture.Because of those motives, this fountain had to be done by the empire, not by a person. The walls on the sides of fountain, also shows us that it's a part of a structure.
For the moment, we don't have any information about this fountain. However, it is interesting that no trace of this fountain, which was found intact in the 1940s, has been reached today. We don't want to close this part of our article and we will update in any case if we reach an information.
1960s Vafiadis Family in Bursa : Kestel and Aşıklar Tepesi
In 1960s, new members have joined to Vafiadis family: Stavros Vafiadis and his twin siblings Grigoris and Hurmuzios. The trips to Bursa continued again on this decade. Aşıklar Tepesi was still their favourite destination. Here below we share a photo of them from this hill which has been taken with an interesting fountain.
1960s, Vafiadis Family & The Fountain / Bursa
As we told about Aşıklar Tepesi above, we will talk about another place in Bursa: Kestel. The history of Kestel dates back to the Eastern Roman Empire. Its name comes from Castel ( Kastel ), means a small castle. By time, after Ottomans took the control of the city it turned to Kestel. Below we would like to share with you an interesting photo which have been taken in Kestel, 1960s.
1960s, Vafiadis Family & Sadık/ Kestel, Bursa
The photo is interesting cause here we see a boy together with Vafiadis family members, and Ashen shows him the camera to look and pose. The boy seems so embrassed. When we showed this photo to Stavros Vafiadis ( the boy in white on the right side of the photo ) he remembered his name and his ability. The name of the boy was Sadık. Unfortunately he was known as ‘the crazy of the village’ by people but he had a strange abiltiy. He could tell fortunes over the ropes, by looking at them. We knew that, Ashen had a deep interest on fortune-telling. She also had the ability of fortune telling, by looking over coffee cup. Maybe the ability of Sadık took her attention and at the end of the day they took a photo for memory.
1970s Koulurgioti and Çakıroglu Families in Bursa : Gönlü Ferah Hotel, Cable Car
We've talked about the memories of Vafiadis family in Bursa, but they were not the only members who loved to travel Bursa in our whole family. Cakiroglu and Koulurgioti families had also many memories in Bursa. No we go back to 1970s, to the photos and memories of those family members in this beautiful city.
Theodora Koulurgioti passed most of her childhood together with Sofia Çakıroğlu. Together with other family members of Sofia, in late 1960s and 1970s, they visited Bursa regularly. Here on the photograph below, which has been taken in late 1960s you see Theodora waving her hand near Sofia, in the famous cable car which was operating from Teferrüç to the Uludağ Hotels area. This cable car is Turkey's first cable car line and opened on 29 October 1963. It's one of the city symbols of Bursa.
You can also see Ayhan Erman, a relative of Sofia's husband, in this photo. He is the one on the front with a white shirt. We told his story on our article 'Ayhan Erman: For The Love of Football' before. He was a constant member of our family and our travels. While writing this article, I thought of the joke he made every time we got on the cable car. He would say 'Hooop' as the cable car was ascending and would stress 'Gümmmm' when descending and laugh.
1960s, Theodora, Sofia & Ayhan Erman / Cable Car, Bursa
The family members favourite hotel in Bursa was Gönlüferah Hotel. Gönluferah Hotel has been operating in Cekirge, Bursa since 1890. According to information on the hotels website, in the 1900s, the hotel became the subject of Nazım Hikmet's poems and was referred to as the "Ferahfeza Hotel in Bursa". Let's read this part together.
...It's like nowhere. The baths of Bursa.
A hotel in the garden.
Customers are clean...
An Old Photo Of Gönlüferah Hotel / Bursa
The hotel hosted many celebrities in the past and present. Renowned American Director Elia KAZAN, well known Turkish Composer Avni ANIL, and the 8th President of the Turkish Republic Turgut ÖZAL were among the guests of Gönlüferah Hotel.
On below two photographs, you see Theodora Koulurgioti in Gönlüferah Hotel. On one photo, you see her posing on the piano of the hotel, and on the other photo she is sitting on the swing in hotels garden.
1970s, Theodora Koulurgioti in Gonluferah Hotel / Bursa
Here on this article, we told about Bursa through our family archives and their memories. The travels to Bursa continued also in 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. But as those years are quite new when we compare with the old photos in our archives, we didn't include here. Maybe the next generation of 2mi3museum will write a second part of this article on upcoming years.
Written by : 2mi3, November 2021