of Tekirdag on the border between Greece and Turkey, Edirne
was for some years the Ottoman capital, and in the l8th
century one of the seven largest cities in Europe. On a
verdant plain of poplar trees near the junction of the Tunca
and Meriç Rivers, this graceful historical city welcomes
visitors as they make their way to Istanbul and other points
east. The people of the Edirne area trace their origins
beyond the rule of the Macedonians. The Roman emperor
Hadrian rebuilt the city and renamed it Hadrianople after
himself. With the division of the Roman Empire, the
Byzantines claimed Edirne and in 1361, Sultan Murat I added
it to his empire.
position for almost 100 years as capital of the Ottoman
Empire accounts for its many historically and
architecturally important buildings. With its mosques,
religious complexes, bridges, old bazaars, caravanserais and
palaces, Edirne is a living museum.
Sinan Mosque is the city's focal point. Occupying the top of
a hill, Sinan's design reflects the classical Ottoman style.
Built on the orders of Sultan Selim II, (1569-1575) it
attests to the technological abilities of the day and the
genius of the Ottoman's master architect.
between 1403 and 1414 by Mehmet I, the Eski Mosque is · the
oldest Ottoman structure in Edirne. The white marble of its
portal contrasts with the building's cut stone and brick
masonry. Calligraphic inscriptions of Koranic verses
decorate the interior.
Üç Şerefeli Mosque, built between 1438 and 1447 by Murat
I, presages the great period of Ottoman mosque architecture
under Sinan and embodies both a new freedom from restraint
and advances in engineering. The northwest minaret has three
galleries, hence the mosque's name, and was the highest
minaret until those of the Selimiye Mosque eclipsed it.
the end of the l5th century, Beyazıt II commissioned the
architect Hayrettin to build him a complex in Edirne which
includes a mosque, Darüşşifa (hospital), medrese, kitchen
and store rooms. The mosque is square in plan and covered
with a deep dome; over 100 domes roof the remainder. The
most important of the other buildings is the Darüşşifa
which stood out in its time as a modern hospital with a
unique and humane architectural design.
has changed in the Kaleici section of Edirne since the
Middle Ages. Narrow streets lined with houses wind through
the area. The number of small restaurants arid cafes reflect
the district's renaissance.
built several of the famous baths in Edirne including the
Sokollu, Tahtakale, Mezit Bey, Beylerbeyi and Gazi Mihal
hamams. His work is also seen in the Ahmet Paşa
Caravanserai and the Rüstem Paşa Caravanserai of 1561. The
latter has been renovated and serves as a charming hotel.
The old bedesten of the early l5th century still functions
as Edirne's main market. As you drive around the area you
will notice many lovely Ottoman bridges gracing the Tunca
and Meriç Rivers.
has retained many of its colorful traditions and customs.
Every summer, where the Tunca River divides, an emerald
green meadow is created, called Sarayici, where the Kırkpınar
Greased Wrestling Contests are held. Shiny, slippery bodies
grapple to determine who will emerge as champion.
you walk through the city and peer into the corners of the
grocery stores, you see blocks of white feta cheese, a local
specialty. Hardaliye, another of the city's delicacies, is a
grape drink mixed with mustard and marzipan. Scented soaps,
earthenware pots and straw baskets from Edirne make good
souvenirs. You will find it difficult to resist the
beautiful embroidery work of the local women.
Archaeology and Ethnography Museum traces the history of the
area from prehistoric to Byzantine times and exhibits
clothing from the late Ottoman period. At the Turkish
Islamic Art Museum examples of Ottoman architectural
details, calligraphy, manuscripts, Korans, weapons, glass
and an imperial tent used on military campaigns are
the way to the Saroz Gulf in the Aegean Sea, you can stop at
Uzunkõprü to see an interesting bridge spanning the Ergene
River, built by Murat II in 1444. Its 174 arches, the
highest of which is 12.28 meters, make up its 1,354 meter
length. The mild climate and beautiful surroundings on the
Saroz Gulf invite holiday makers for a break of relaxation.
On the northern point of the gulf are the lovely Ibrice and
Erikli beaches. Here the hotel and guest-house facilities
are plentiful and reasonably priced.
(Ainos) was an important port in ancient times, today it
lies 3.5 km. inland. Its origins can be traced to the l2th
century B.C. and was an important settlement during the
Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Currently,
it remains an open-air museum and was built by the Kyle
people and was known as a colony of western Anatolian
civilisation. Enez Castle has been restored several times
throughout history and is well worth a visit. There is also
a church dating from the 6th century B.C., some carved tombs
and a beach with clear water. The people here are quite
hospitable and Enez makes an interesting stopover.
Yıldız (Istranca) Mountains divide the province of Kırklareli.
Lush mountainous landscape dotted with quaint houses
transport you to an idyllic and tranquil frame of mind. The
city of Kırklareli's oldest mosque, the Hızırbey Mosque,
was built in 1383. The mosque complex includes a bazaar.
Nearby stands a hamam also built under Hızır Bey's
patronage. The l4th century Kırklar Memorial with its
impressive 18 columns stands on Kırklar Hill honoring the
site where 40 soldiers lost their lives when the Ottomans
conquered this area neighboring town of Babaeski also boasts
a Sinan building in the Cedi Ali Paşa Mosque.
(Byzia), an important Byzantine center, houses the Küçük
Ayasofya church and a castle, both dating from the Byzantine
period. under the command of Murat I. The Archaeological
Museum exhibits finds from local excavations.
Black Sea Coast is another place to enjoy beaches and good
fish restaurants. Iğneada, 98 km east of Kırklareli, lies
squeezed between its sandy shores and the Yıldız
Mountains. Kıyıköy (Midye) is another holiday resort town
with good accommodations and picturesque dwellings from the
Middle Ages; the town and its land walls date from the
Sokollu Mosque in Luleburgaz, on the Edirne-Istanbul road,
is an exquisite work of Sinan's that dates from 1570. The If
you are travelling north to Bulgaria, linger for a few hours
in the peaceful and green town of Derekoy, the last stop
before the border.