East Thrace: Wikis


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East Thrace

East Thrace, or Eastern Thrace (Turkish: Doğu Trakya) or Trakya (Bulgarian: Източна Тракия, Iztochna Trakiya) Greek: Ανατολική Θράκη), or Turkish Thrace, is the part of the modern republic of Turkey that is geographically part of Europe, all in the eastern part of the historical region of Thrace; most of Turkey is in Anatolia, also known as Asia Minor. Turkish Thrace is also called European Turkey. This area includes the historic centre of old İstanbul , as well as such cities as Edirne (the historical capital of the Ottoman vilayet that comprised all Thrace), Tekirdağ, Çorlu, Lüleburgaz and Kırklareli.




The region comprises the three il (republican provinces) of Edirne, Kırklareli and Tekirdağ, along with the European parts of İstanbul and Çanakkale. On the other hand, Istanbul, the Gelibolu (Gallipoli) Peninsula and Gökçeada (both part of Çanakkale Province) may not always be considered part of Thrace by Turks today.

Province Area
(2008 census)[1]
Population density
(per km²)
Provinces formerly in the Vilayet of Edirne:
Edirne 6,279 394,644 62.8
Kırklareli 6,550 336,942 51.4
Tekirdağ 6,218 770,772 123.9
Sub-total 19,047 1,502,358 78.8
İstanbul (European part) 3,421 8,232,849 2406.5
Çanakkale (European part) 1,296 64,268 49.5
Total 23,764 9,799,745 824.7

See also



Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Eastern Thrace article)

From Wikitravel

Europe : Turkey : Marmara : Eastern Thrace

Eastern Thrace (Doğu Trakya in Turkish, although almost always called simply Trakya, i.e. Thrace) is European Turkey, i.e. part of Turkey that is located in Europe.

  • Cerkezkoy - industry
  • Corlu – more industry
  • Edirne – the biggest and most historically significant city of the region
  • Keşan – a city in the western part of the region, near Greek border. Located on an important crossroad
  • Kirklareli – a city in the north, near Bulgarian border
  • Luleburgaz – geographical center of Eastern Thrace
  • Tekirdağ – a city on the coast of the Sea of Marmara

Geographically speaking, the city of Istanbul is also partially in Eastern Thrace, but culturally it is a world afar and should be considered as a region on its own.

Other destinations

Significant towns

On the Black Sea coast

  • Igneada – known for its long and almost desolate beaches, lush forests, and many lakes
  • Kiyikoy, which is still widely known with its former name (Midye) among locals, is a town known for its traditional wooden houses, preserved city walls, and a monastery carved into rocks.

On the coast of the Sea of Marmara

east to west

  • Silivri – a town rapidly changing into a suburb of Istanbul
  • Marmara Ereglisi – site of ancient city of Perinthos
  • Kumbag – main nightlife spot of Eastern Thrace
  • Murefte – the wine country of the region
  • Şarköy – has the only beach of Eastern Thrace that was awarded ‘Blue Flag’ which guarantees beach and seawater purity
  • Gallipoli – site of 1915 Anzac landing and WWI memorials

On the Aegean coast

  • Enez – a small town on the Maritsa delta


  • Babaeski – a town known for its not-very-impressive old bridge and mosque
  • Demirkoy – a town sorrounded by forests up in Istranca Mountains, known for its 15th century foundry (its name itself means “iron village”)
  • Uzunkopru – name of which translates “long bridge” in Turkish, this town has one of the longest bridges (more than 2 km) ever built by Sinan, the Ottoman architect of 16th century.
  • Vize – known for its Byzantine cathedral-turned-mosque called Little Hagia Sophia
  • Gokceada (Imbros) – the largest Turkish island, home of a Greek community
  • Marmara Island, although nearer to Anatolia, i.e. Asian mainland, has extensive transportation and cultural links with Eastern Thrace.
  • Dupnisa cave near Pinarhisar, habitat of endemic bat species
  • the Tumulii (sing. tumulus), ancient Thracian mausoleums for their kings and nobles. These are man-made hills all over the region.
  • Dolmens and related menhirs which date back to paleolithic. Scattered around the area to the north of Edirne, near Lalapasa and Suleoglu.
  • Saros Bay, an indentation of Aegean Sea between Thracian mainland and Gallipoli peninsula, is popular among scuba divers as this gulf is one of the cleanest and liveliest (in terms of marine ecology) bodies of water in Turkey.


Eastern Thrace is located in the northwestern corner of Turkey and makes up 3% of the country’s landmass. Although this percentage might seem small at first, Eastern Thrace is only slightly smaller than whole of Belgium, for example.

Eastern Thrace is essentially a peninsula surrounded by Greece (Western Thrace) and Bulgaria (Northern Thrace) to the west and north respectively and bouded by Black Sea, Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, Dardanelles, and the Aegean Sea to the northeast, east, south, and southwest respectively.

The region’s name (and indeed all of Thrace’s) come from Thracians, an ancient Indo-European speaking nation. Culture of today’s Eastern Thrace shares many similarities with cultures of Balkan (Southeastern Europe) countries as much of the region’s population is descendants of people who immigrated from those countries starting from late 1800s to the date.

Eastern Thrace is a part of Marmara Region.


Turkish is the language of choice in the region, as elsewhere in Turkey. Local dialect is loaded with slang and other colloquially used words mainly originating from other Balkan languages (mainly Bulgarian) but this won’t be a problem if you can speak Turkish as local folk mostly avoids using them (or “translates” them into standard Turkish) when they see you’re non-local. Also local dialect is one of the most similar dialects to standard Turkish (which is based on Istanbul dialect).

The most frequent foreign language is English. Thousands of immigrants from Bulgaria who were settled in the region in late 1980s/early 1990s means that finding someone with a fluent Bulgarian is also a possibility (albeit a minor possibility).

Get in

There are four border posts with Bulgaria (one rail, others highway) and three border posts with Greece (one rail, others highway). There are trains and buses crossing any of these border posts.

The region is also well connected to Istanbul by highways and a motorway (toll-road), buses and trains. It’s even possible to find a direct bus from Istanbul to a village well off-the-beaten-path. Please note that all trains to the region departs at European station (Sirkeci) of Istanbul, not Haydarpasa, the Asian one

There are two international airports in the region: Ataturk Airport of Istanbul and Corlu Airport (though Corlu Airport is reserved for flights from ex-Soviet countries only).

There is also a substantial number of ferries connecting towns and cities located on the southern and northern (Thracian) coasts of the Sea of Marmara.

Get around

by bus/minibus

All cities in the region are connected to each other by bus, and smaller towns have minibus connections to nearby bigger towns and cities.

by train

The only line out of Istanbul’s European station (Sirkeci) splits into two near Babaeski, one of them continues towards Bulgaria and the other one towards Greece, there is at least one daily train (both local and international) operating in each line. As the railline wasn’t laid down as straight as the highways, train journeys take more time than bus/car travel.

by car

The main highways of the region radiate out of Istanbul and generally follow a straight line towards Greek and Bulgarian borders, and Aegean Sea. Here is a list of the road numbers of main highways of the region and the notable towns and cities located along:

All roads in the region, even those leading to far away villages, are sealed, although pavement quality and road breadth varies according to how important and busy the road is.

by thumb

The major crossroad with traffic lights near Keşan is probably number one hitchhiker’s paradise in the region as there are major roads leading to all cardinal directions there, and all vehicles have to stop (or at least slow down) because of traffic lights. And there are lots of vehicles, day or night. And as a bonus, there is a huge supermarket nearby to replenish the supplies. It’s even possible to get a lift all the way to Ukraine or Italy or Iran there (judging from the plate numbers of the trucks).


This region was important during Ottoman times, both because it was Istanbul’s hinterland, and also because it was on the road between Istanbul, empire’s capital city, and the European possessions of the empire. Therefore almost all towns and cities in the region has an important landmark, such as a bridge, an inn, or a mosque (or sometimes all of them) built by Sinan, the famous Ottoman architect of 16th century. Be sure to check them out.

  • Do a wine-tasting trip in the Şarköy – Murefte area (SW of Tekirdağ). Some tour companies based in Istanbul offer such day-trips in autumn (fall). You can also organize a trip by yourself if you have a car at your disposal. Many factories in the area accept walk-in wine-tasters for a token fee.
  • Should you have a chance, don’t miss to attend a traditional wedding feast (düğün), especially in the villages, where beer, raki, and wine flow like rivers. This region has one of the most colourful wedding ceremonies in Turkey, with Balkan tunes. No need to be invited.


Tekirdağ and Uzunköprü in the region are known for their local meat-balls (köfte), while Edirne is known for its fried liver (ciğer). The region, surrounded by three seas and fragmented by riverbeds, also offers many different kinds of fish.

Necatiye village, on the highway (D100) from Istanbul to Edirne (exact location: west of Babaeski, east of Havsa), is known for its own brand of ice-cream, known as Nedo (shortened form of Necatiye Dondurması, i.e. “Necatiye ice-cream”) which is said to draw its taste from the local flora which the local cows are fed on. The shop where producers sell the ice-cream is in the west exit of the village (there is a nedo sign), with a lovely garden where you can enjoy the ice-cream next to a little stream. Nice place to take a break. They sell a really big chunk of ice-cream cheaper than the big cities.


This region provides much of Turkey’s wine and raki production and a considerable percentage of beer production. Don’t forget to check out local brands (although most of them are available almost everywhere in Turkey –except wine).

Get out

Drivers should be aware that all place names on highway signs are written in Turkish, as elsewhere in Turkey. These include the place names out of Turkey, too, no matter how different their Turkish names are from their native or English counterparts. Some such as Burgaz or Sofya are close enough to their native/English spellings, as if there just have been a spelling error on the sign, but what is Yunanistan? And which direction on Earth is Greece? Don’t get your eyes weary by looking for ‘Greece’ or ‘Bulgaria’ on the signs, here is a short list of what you should look for instead (and what you will see commonly on the roads towards the border) (Turkish names written in italics, English names in paranthesis): Yunanistan (Greece), Batı Trakya (Western Thrace), Gümülcine (Komotini), Dedeağaç (Alexandropolis), Selanik (Thessaloniki), Bulgaristan (Bulgaria), Burgaz (Burgas), Sofya (Sofia)… And hudut, which you will see frequently on signs counting down the distance as well as on the directional signs, means ‘border’. One hint: All place names out of Turkey, as well as the names of the border posts, are written over a yellow or brown band on otherwise normally blue or green highway signs (but keep in mind that the same yellow or brown signs are also used for places of historical and/or touristical interest, too).

This is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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