İznik (pop.~22,000) is a historical town in Eastern Marmara, located on the eastern shore of Lake İznik (ancient Ascanius); east of Bursa.


Green Mosque

İznik, or Nicaea (Latin)/Nikaia (Greek) as known in ancient times, was the site of the both first and seventh ecumenical councils of Christianity (i.e. First and Second Councils of Nicaea), convened in 325 and 787 respectively. Later it served as the capital city of Sultanate of Rum, first Turkic state established in Asia Minor. After the Crusaders of Fourth Crusade captured Constantinople and established Latin Empire in 1204, it also served as the capital of Empire of Nicaea, a rump Byzantine state, for more than 60 years. Despite still maintaining some traces of its past, the town today has a somewhat provincial feel to it, and is far from the importance it possessed in history.

İznik today is still mostly surrounded by ancient walls with four major gates roughly corresponding to the cardinal directions. They are named after the major town the road exiting through the gate in question leads to. In clockwise order, they are (starting from north): Istanbul Gate (İstanbul Kapı), Lefke Gate (Lefke Kapı), Yenişehir Gate (Yenişehir Kapı), and Lake Gate (Göl Kapı), providing access to the lake shore, not a town. All are roughly the same distance away from town square, which is the intersection of the two major streets of the town: Atatürk Caddesi (north-south, between Istanbul and Yenişehir Gates) and Kılıçaslan Caddesi (east-west, between Lefke and Lake Gates).

İznik is also famous for its tiles (çini), though much less so than in the past.

Get in

By minibus

There are minibuses, mostly running on the road following the southern shore of the lake, heading to İznik from all surrounding towns.

The minibuses are run by İznik Minibüs ve Otobüsçüler Koop. (,  +90 224 757-16-48 (İznik), +90 262 414-99-49 (Gölcük). ) with 20 min intervals between 8AM-midnight from Bursa, about an hour intervals between 7:30AM-9PM from Yalova (except Su when the first departure is at 9:10AM; costs 7.50 TL pp as of 2008), and three times a day (at 10:30AM, 3PM, and 7PM) from Gölcük just west of İzmit via Karamürsel.

By car

If you choose not to take a ferry to Yalova, you also have the option of taking the mountainous road which forks from the main highway about 5 km west of Karamürsel. This road is shorter than the above route, but curvier.

By boat

While there are no boats plying on Lake İznik, when arriving from Istanbul in the north, you may take fast ferries to Yalova to shorten total journey duration.

By train

The nearest train station is located in Osmaneli, about 30-40 km to the east. Osmaneli lies on the main trunk rail line between Istanbul and Ankara, therefore many daily trains have a stop at the town.

Minibuses run by İznik Minibüs ve Otobüsçüler Koop ( +90 228 461-30-30 (Osmaneli). ) connect Osmaneli with İznik, six times a day, with two-hour intervals between 8:30AM-6:30PM, except in winter when the last minibus departs at 5:30PM from Osmaneli.

Get around

İznik is not very big, and lies on a flat ground, so walking around is a viable option. Each of the gates – the most distant sections of the town – are about 15-20 minutes at most on foot from town square – the focal point of the town.


There are also taxi stands around the town for those who prefer not to walk, both one block from town square, diagonally across from Hagia Sophia.


Hagia Sophia




İznik has been well known for its local faience/tile (çini)and pottery tradition since 15th century.

Nowadays, designs range from classical/traditional to somewhat kitsch to avant-garde. You can see lots of tile and pottery workshops, which also double as showrooms for tiles painted on square ceramics and other products on sale, in alleys on both sides of Kılıçaslan Caddesi St, especially near the Green Mosque/the Museum.

İznik Foundation has revived the art of tiles and pottery in the traditional 15th/16th century styles, as well as applying contemporary designs and motifs on tiles and tableware. In their showrooms, there is a large choice of tiles and household pottery such as bowls, dishware, and vases, hand-painted in the traditional İznik style. Most of the production is custom-made, for architectural purposes, interior decoration, and private demands.

The design department, headquarters, and export department of Iznik Foundation are in Istanbul where a larger collection of products from the Foundation workshops are displayed and sales take place.


Most banks are located on either Atatürk Caddesi or Kılıçaslan Caddesi, usually very near the town square. All are equipped with ATMs on their exterior walls.





The telephone code of the town is (+90) 224.

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