It's no secret that Turkey has become a rising economic power in the region. Its diverse economy, which includes silk and textile exports, car manufacturing, agriculture and now a surge in tourism, has registered growth of 2.5 per cent amid a global economic downturn, warranting a wave of businessmen from Europe and the Middle East rushing to forge ties in a place that straddles East and West.
Facts about Bursa, a key industrial city in Turkey:
Airport: Yenisehir Airport. Travelling from abroad, one must fly into Istanbul (with Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways or Turkish Airlines). However, given the proximity between Istanbul and Bursa, common methods of travel between the two cities are ferry, metro, bus or taxi. The total time for the journey is about two-and-a-half hours.
An airport hotel: If you're flying in via Istanbul, Wow Hotel is a friendly and accessible five star business hotel near Ataturk Airport.
A hotel in Bursa: Once you have made your way to Bursa, try the Hampton by Hilton Bursa hotel, which is located in the business district, or Hotel Celik Palas for a more luxury spa experience.
Bus from Istanbul Airport to Bursa: 25 liras.
A conference centre: Ataturk Congress Culture Centre and Tuyap Bursa International Fair and Congress Centre, with 12,000 square metres and 35,000 sq metres of leasable space respectively.
A power restaurant: Try Iskender Kebab Restaurant, near the old central bus station. Bursa is well known for its Iskender kebab, a type of shawarma, which is made up of small thin strips of meat on top of bread soaked in a tomato sauce, with a serving of yogurt.
Currency conversion rate: 100 Turkish liras = Dh204.
Main businesses: The car industry in Bursa is huge - with Renault and Fiat vehicles manufactured in factories to be sold in Turkey or exported to Europe. More recently, government officials and businessmen have been trying to promote Bursa as a tourist destination.
What are some things to do at night in Bursa? Sess 34 is a great nightclub at the top of Uludag mountain. A taxi ride takes about five minutes, around the windy, narrow road that leads to the top of the mountain. It is designed as a wooden cabin with large glass windows from the ceiling to the floor that allow you to have a good top view of the resort and wider Bursa below. It has a chilled-out vibe and plays popular English tracks.
Got more time on your hands? Silk was big business in Bursa when it was part of the Ottoman Empire and the last stop on the lucrative Silk Road. Head to Bursa's biggest bazaar, Kapali Carsi, in the Koza Hani or "Silk Cocoon Hall" for some silk scarves. It was not long ago that silkworms would be raised by farmers and fed mulberry leaves, before their valuable silk cocoons would be sold in this market. Looking for excitement? Uludag mountain, with an altitude of 2,543 metres, is a popular destination for winter skiing. If you plan to spend a weekend, My Mountain is a perfectly located hotel. You can rent skiing and outdoor equipment from the resort for 70 lira (Dh142).