Edirne -historically known as Adrianople-, is a city in the northwestern Turkish province of Edirne, in the region of East Thrace, close to Turkey’s borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne served as the third capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1363 to 1453, before Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) became the empire’s fourth and final capital.
During the existence of the Latin Empire of Constantinople, the Crusaders were decisively defeated by the Bulgarian Emperor Kaloyan in the Battle of Adrianople (1205). Later Theodore Komnenos, Despot of Epirus, took possession of it in 1227, but three years later was defeated at Klokotnitsa by Asen, Emperor of the Bulgarians.
In 1369, the city was conquered by the Ottoman sultan Murad I. He renamed it “Edirne”. The city remained the Ottoman capital for 90 years until 1453, when Mehmed II moved the capital to Constantinople (present-day Istanbul). Edirne is famed for its many mosques, domes, minarets, and palaces from the Ottoman period.
Places to Visit:
The Selimiye Mosque, built in 1575 and designed by Turkey’s greatest master architect, Mimar Sinan (1490–1588), is one of the most important monuments in the city. It has the highest minarets in Turkey, at 70.90 m and a cupola 1.22 m higher than that of Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine Orthodox Cathedral (now museum) in Istanbul. Carrying the name of the then reigning Ottoman Sultan Selim II (r. 1566–1574), this mosque futures Turkish marble handicrafts, and it is covered with valuable tiles and fine paintings.
Another notable mosque is Eski Cami (Old Mosque), and Burmalı Cami (Serpent Mosque).
Edirne has three historic covered bazaars: Arasta Bazaar, next to Selimiye Mosque, Bedesten next to Eski Cami and Ali Paşa Çarşısı (Ali Pasha Bazaar).
Besides the mosques, there are visitor attractions in Edirne, all reflecting its rich past. The most prominent place being the Edirne Palace (New Imperial Palace) in Sarayiçi quarter, built during the reign of Murad II (r. 1421–1444).
Another notable building in the area is the Trakya University’s Bayezid II Külliye Health Museum, an important monument with its complex construction comprising many facilities used in those times.
The Balkan Wars Memorial Cemetery is located close to the Edirne Palace, with an unknown soldier monument futuring an Ottoman soldier in front of its entrance.
The historic Grand Synagogue of Edirne.
Edirne has several historic arch bridges crossing over the rivers Meriç and Tundzha, which flow around west and south of the city.There are caravansaries, like the Rustem Pasha and Ekmekcioglu Ahmet Pasha caravansaries, which were designed to host travelers, in the 16th century.