is a gateway of Turkey opening to western world, the first stopover for
newcomers from Europe. Situated on the Greek border, this beautiful city
is famed for its many mosques, the elegant domes and minarets which dominate
the panoramic appearance of the province.
One of the most important monuments in this ancient
province is the Selimiye Mosque, built in the 16th-century by Turkey's
greatest architect, Mimar Sinan. Carrying the name of the then reigning the
Sultan, this mosque magnificently represents Turkish marble handicrafts and it is covered
with valuable tiles and fine paintings. The Yildirim Mosque and
the Eski Mosque, dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries
respectively, are other spectacular sights while the Muradiye Mosque
and the Üç Serefeli Mosque are also among the oldest and most
impressive buildings. Last to be mentioned is the Beyazit II Mosque,
a great monument with its complex construction comprising many facilities used in those
Besides the fascinating mosques, there are different sites
to be visited in Edirne, all reflecting its rich past. There are attractive palaces, the
most prominent one being the Edirne Palace, which was the "Palace of the
Empire" built during the reign of Murat II. There are the amazing
caravansaries, like the Rustem Pasha and Ekmekcioglu
Ahmet Pasha caravansaries, which were designed to host travelers, in the
The lively bazaars of "Bedesten"
and "Arasta" make the province colorful bring back the
ancient times. Several bridges exist which have stood for centuries, adorning the land
with their old but fine appearances.
Ipsala, is a district center of
Edirne province and it is Turkey's second important border gate, on the European frontier.
It is a wildfowl paradise enjoyed by both Turkish and foreign sportsmen.
A specialty of Edirne is as a center for
grease-wrestling, which is the national sport of Turkey. Lively
championships are held here every July, on Kirkpinar island, a
forested area between the Meric and Tunca rivers. These traditional occasions comprise
many entertaining activity, and the province is filled with spectators.
Edirne's site and turbulent history were determined by its
strategic position on the main route from Asia Minor to the Balkans. Originally called
Uskudama and probably first settled by Thracian tribes, the town was rebuilt and enlarged
in about AD 125 by the Roman emperor Hadrian, who renamed it Hadrianopolis. In 378 the
city was the site of the Battle of Adrianople, in which the Goths dealt Rome a crushing
defeat. Besieged by the Avars in 586, the city was captured by the Bulgars in the 10th
century and was ransacked twice by crusaders until it fell to the Ottomans in 1362. It
then served as the forward base for Ottoman expansion into Europe. It served as the
capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1413 until 1458 and flourished as an administrative,
commercial, and cultural centre. Its decline came with foreign occupations and devastation
in wars. Occupied by the Russians in 1829 and 1878, it was taken by the Bulgarians during
the First Balkan War in 1913. Retaken by the Turks that same year, it was captured by the
Greeks in 1920 during the Turkish War of Independence and was finally restored to Turkey
Edirne lies along the London-to-Istanbul railway. Major
roads connect it with central Europe and Istanbul. Known for its peynir (white cheese),
the city also produces cotton and woolens, soap, and leather goods. The surrounding
agricultural area produces wheat, rice, rye, and fruits.