Tombs of Osman and Orhan

Updated: 01 January 1970 Created: 06 June 2014
The Tombs of Osman and Orhan are located on the top of a hill in the entrance to Tophane Park in the city of Bursa. Osman Gazi was the founder and first sultan of the Ottoman Empire. It was his son Orhan, which succeeded him and went on to conquer Bursa, which then became the capital of the Ottoman Empire for 130 years. The original tombs were totally destroyed by an earthquake in Bursa in 1855 and the structures were rebuilt in 1868 by Sultan Abdulaziz in the Ottoman style and these are the tombs that are still standing today. 

The Tombs of Osman and OrhanThe tomb of Osman is the more decorative of these two tombs and sits amidst the ruins of the chapel that was originally in a Byzantine monastery called St. Elie. The tomb of Orhan was built upon the floor mosaics of the St. Elie monastery and there are a further 14 coffins, including those of Orhan, his wife and children.

Osman Ghazi was born in 1258 and legend has it that he once had a dream where a tree grew from his chest. The roots and branches grew and covered Asia, Europe and Africa and it was Osman’s shaykh whom he regularly relied on for Islamic guidance that interpreted his dream as a sign that his descendants would eventually gain control of all three continents. Before his family could make his dream a reality Osman’s beylik pressed right against the Byzantine Empire and his stature grew with many others joining his growing state, this also included the refugees from the East. Due to this huge influx Osman could continue his pressure on the Byzantines who at this point were in full decline. 

Osman died 1326, after he had laid the foundations for an empire that went on to last until 1922. Osman’s son, Orhan took over the leadership from his father and also followed his fathers’ instructions for his burial under the silver domes. Orhan went on to expand his father’s empire which resulted in him conquering the important city of Bursa from the Byzantines early on in his reign. 

The Tombs of Osman and OrhanWhile the Ottoman Empire experienced many ups and downs in its long and successful 600 year history, the origins and progression of this empire has to be completely understood to completely understand how the Ottomans saw themselves and what their purpose in life was.

From their original origins as a small Turkish beylik which was built around a ghazi society, they grew and became one of the most powerful empires in early history. With the importance that the early Ottomans gave to their ghazi lifestyle and the defense of Islam, it is easier to understand how this empire rose to the heights it reached in the 1400s and 1500s.

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