Bursa is a city that is 4 hours away from Istanbul (when taking the fast ferry). With a population of 2,550,645 (2009), Bursa is Turkey's fourth largest city, as well as one of the most industrialized and culturally interesting metropolitan centers in the country. In 1326 Bursa became the first major capital city of the Ottoman Empire. In 1365, after the Ottomans turned the newly conquered city Edirne (Adrianople) into their joint capital city, Bursa did not lose much of its importance. Historically, Bursa was one of the largest centers of silk trade throughout the medieval period (as the most Western end of the Silk Road) and produced kaftans, pillows, embroidery and other silk products for the Ottoman palaces until the 17th century. Nowadays, Bursa is still a major center for textiles, silk and towel manufacturing in Turkey, and is home to the Bursa International Textiles and Trade Center (Bursa Uluslararası Tekstil ve Ticaret Merkezi, or BUTTIM). Bursa is also the home town of two famous Turkish folklore figures: shadow puppets Karagöz and Hacivat. In 2009, the Özel Nilüfer Yıldırım İlköğretim School in Bursa did a Comenius school project with a Dutch school.
In the STGM database a total of 200 NGO’s was listed for the city of Bursa. Of these 25 were dedicated to education and youth, 19 to culture and 1 to arts.
Bursa is a university city and its population attains one of the highest overall levels of education in Turkey. Bilgi University, a private university based in Istanbul, has announced plans to open a university in Bursa.