The showcase village of CUMALIKIZIK lies 17km east, then south of Bursa on the Ankara road. The first records of the village mosque and hamam date from 1685, but the place is thought to be at least three centuries older. Set on the lower slopes of Uludağ, Cumalıkızık’s cobbled streets are full of traditional dwellings, some restored and painted, others leaning brokenly into each other. Villagers once made a living from harvesting chestnuts, but a blight annihilated the local trees; now, raspberries and blackberries are grown instead, but there’s still not enough work to halt the usual flight of the young to the city.
Buses drop you at the village square, dominated by two enormous plane trees, from which radiates a network of narrow alleys often only wide enough for pedestrians and pack animals. The ground and first floors of the village houses harbour the storerooms and stables, while the living quarters with their latticed bay windows are upstairs under tiled eaves. Many of the surviving double-front doors sport large-headed nails, wrought-iron strips and massive handles.