Edirne Tourist Attractions
Situation and ImportanceOnce known as Adrianopolis, Edirne, capital of its province, is situated 245km/152mi northwest of Istanbul at the confluence of the Tunca and Arda with the Meriç (Maritza). It is the second largest city in European Turkey, benefiting from its position as a major road and rail junction close to the Greek and Bulgarian frontiers.
It is surrounded by fertile farming country and has recently emerged as an increasingly prosperous industrial town (textiles, leather goods, staple and luxury foods, perfume).With its endowment of mosques (including the magnificent Selimiye Camii), caravanserais, low timber houses and narrow alleyways, this historic Thracian border town still retains its Old Turkish air.HistoryEdirne was founded around A.D. 125 by the Roman emperor Hadrian (hence Hadrianopolis/Adrianopolis), afterwards being continually fought over on account of its strategic position. From the time of its capture by the Turkish Sultan Murat I, to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Edirne was the seat of the Turkish rulers. At the end of the 19th century it became a frontier stronghold and played an important role during the Balkan Wars. In 1989 hundreds of thousands of Bulgarian Turks, fleeing across the Turkish-Bulgarian border, settled in the Edirne-Istanbul area.
Ali Pasa Çarsisi
The Ali Pasa Çarsisi, a covered bazaar in the Saraçilar Caddesi in Edirne, was built by the famous architect Sinan for Hersekli Ali Pasa, one of Süleiman the Magnificent's viziers. It is constructed on the traditional pattern: a roofed-over street, with rows of shops running parallel, and entrances at the front and sides.
The Archeological Museum in Edirne, originally housed in the Selimiye Camii medrese but now (since 1971) in a modern building, has collections of pottery, bronze-work, Thracian capitals (eighth century B.C.), glass, and coins from a number of periods. The ethnographic section includes a variety of textiles, rose-water bottles, sewing boxes, cutlery, writing materials, weapons (some with especially fine inlay) and kitchen utensils. Also on display are Anatolian carpets, prayer rugs from Gördes, Bergama and Kirsehir, and kilims, including Sarkoy and Turkmen kilims.
Now in less exalted use as an antique emporium, the old bedesten in the city center of Edirne was built by the Sultan Mehmet I. Fourteen small cupolas adorn the roof of the two-aisle, pillared hall and cluster of little shops.
Bayazit I Camii
The 14th century Bayazit I Camii stands in what is now the suburb of Yildirim on the western edge of Edirne. It is built in the (early) Bursa style, laid out in the shape of an inverted "T". A relatively narrow corridor, with domed chambers either side, leads from a narthex-like portico to the domed central space, square in plan, from which barrel-vaulted rooms radiate in the manner of a church.
Bayazit II Camii
Situated well outside the center of Edirne, on the northwest edge of the town, is a mosque considered one of the finest to be built by the great Ottoman architect Hayrettin. The Bayazit II Camii and the other buildings in the complex were erected between 1484 and 1488, loosely modeled on the Sultan Mehmet Fâtih Külliye in Istanbul. The mosque itself has a tall central dome, its loftiness accentuated by the modest height of the nine-domed tabhanes either side and the low porch. The lovely interior is further enhanced by the effect of light from the four-tier arrangement of the windows.Adjacent to the mosque on its southwest side stands a complex of three buildings, the first being a hospital, hexagonal in plan, with a central dome. This is linked by a hall and courtyard to a medrese, the latter entirely classical in conception. Northeast of the mosque are two domestic blocks comprising a kitchen for the poor and bakery with storerooms.
Rüstem Pasa Kervanserayi
The Rüstem Pasa Caravanserai in the southeast corner of the city center of Edirne was built by the great Sinan for Rüstem Pasa, Grand Vizier to Süleiman the Magnificent. Completed around 1560 the imposing rectangular, two-storyed building, with its large inner courtyard and hamam, was restored some years ago and is now a hotel.
The turmoil of the 1878 Turko-Russian War left this once magnificent sultan's palace and fortifications on the banks of the Tunca almost completely destroyed, apart from a few fragmentary remains. The first building to occupy the site was a Roman fortress constructed at the time of Hadrian. A pavilion was then erected in the 15th century, probably by the Sultan Murat II. His son, Mehmet II Fâtih, added further buildings until a complete palace precinct took shape.
The 16th C mosque of Selimiye Camii is known for its fabulous interior. It was built on the orders of Sultan Selim II and designed by the famous architect Sinan.
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art
In 1925 the first Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art was established in the former medrese of the Selimiye Camii in Edirne. The exhibition comprises Ottoman inscriptions, Koranic manuscripts, tiles, embroidery, glass and weapons. A magnificent satin tent in which the Ottoman viziers conducted state affairs has been erected in the main hall. Side rooms contain antique furnishings and household items, also medallions, calligraphy and goblets. In the garden are a number of tombs (15th century onwards) including that of Siddi Sah Sultan, the wife of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror.
Three Galleried Mosque
The "Three Galleried Mosque" on Cumhuriyet Meydani in Edirne takes its name from the three (Turkish "uç") galleries (Turkish "serefe") of its tall south minaret. Founded by Murat II, the 15th century mosque is transitional from an architectural point of view between the Bursa and later classical styles. It is rectangular in plan, crowned by a vast vaulted central dome on a hexagonal base augmented by four large and three smaller cupolas. The Üç Serefeli was the first mosque to have an inner courtyard the arcades of which were domed.The four minarets at the corners of the inner court are all different in design. The tallest, to the south, has three galleries. The "baklavali minare" (Rhomboid Minaret) has two galleries. The others, one of which is known as the "burmali minare" (Spiral Minaret), have just one gallery.
About 60km/37mi east of Edirne lies the provincial town of Kirklareli, tucked away at the southwest foot of the Yildiz Daglari (Istranca uplands; about 1,000m/3,280ft). As well as sunflowers grown for their seeds, livestock are reared in the steppe-like countryside around. In the Byzantine era the town, presumably Roman in origin, achieved a modest degree of prosperity, to which its many Christian churches testify. When the Turks captured the town in 1363 they called it Kirk Kilise (Town of 40 Churches), from which the present name derives.The Bayazit Pasa Camii in the Hatice Hatun district was built by the town's governor Güllâbi Ahmet Pasa at the end of the 16th century His tomb is found in the mosque garden. The much-restored Büyük Hizir Bey Cami, commissioned by Kösenihalzade Hizir Bey for his son Abdullah Bey and built in 1383, is the oldest mosque in Thrace. Opposite the Ahmet Midhat primary school (Ilkokul) stands the Kadi Camii, endowed by Emin Ali Celebi in 1577.
Kirklareli - Domed Tombs
Several villages in the vicinity of Kirklareli contain rather unusual domed tombs. Examples can be seen in the ancient cemeteries (second-fourth century B.C.) near Eriklice, 3km/2mi northwest of Kirklareli, and at Çadirahlar Tepesi, 3km/2mi southeast.
The center of Lüleburgaz (ancient Arcadiopolis), a town in the Karaagaç Deresi, about 60km/37mi southeast of Edirne, on the Istanbul road, is graced by the Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Külliyesi, endowed by Sokullu Mehmet Pasa in 1549 and constructed by the Ottoman master builder Sinan. In addition to a mosque the complex comprises a medrese, baths (Çifte Hamam), library and caravanserai (Mimar Sinan Kervansarayi; now just remains). The garden of the mosque contains the 14th century mausoleum of Zindan Babas, standard bearer to Gazi Evrenos Bey. The name Lüleburgaz derives from the Turkish word "lule" meaning pipe-bowl, for the manufacture of which the town is famous.
Map of Edirne Attractions