Edirne: Wikis


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—  Town  —
Selimiye Mosque, built by Mimar Sinan in 1575.

Justice Tower
Edirne is located in Turkey
Location of Edirne within Turkey.
Coordinates: 41°40′N 26°34′E / 41.667°N 26.567°E / 41.667; 26.567
Country  Turkey
Region Marmara
Province Edirne
Population (2002)
 - Total 128,400
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Licence plate 22

Edirne is a city in Thrace, the westernmost part of Turkey, close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1457, when Constantinople (Istanbul) became the empire's new capital. At present, Edirne is the capital of the Edirne Province in Turkish Thrace. The city's estimated population in 2009 was 141,570, up from 119,298 in 2000. It has consulates of Bulgaria, Germany (Honorary), Greece, Romania (Honorary) and Slovakia (Honorary). Its sister cities are Haskovo and Yambol in Bulgaria and Alexandroupoli in Greece.



The city was founded as Hadrianopolis (Ἁδριανούπολις), named for the Roman Emperor Hadrian. This name is still used in the Modern Greek (Αδριανούπολη). The English name Adrianople, by which the city was known until the Turkish Postal Service Law of 1930, has fallen into disuse. The Turkish Edirne, the Bulgarian Одрин (Odrin), and the Serbian Једрене (Jedrene) are adapted forms of the name Hadrianopolis.


The area around Edirne has been the site of no fewer than 16 major battles or sieges, from the days of the ancient Greeks. Military historian John Keegan identifies it as "the most contested spot on the globe" and attributes this to its geographical location.

Kasr-ı Adalet (Tower of Justice)

According to Greek mythology, Orestes, son of king Agamemnon, built this city as Orestias, at the confluence of the Tonsus (Toundja) and the Ardiscus (Arda) with the Hebrus (Maritza). The city was (re)founded eponymously by the Roman Emperor Hadrian on the site of a previous Thracian settlement known as Uskadama, Uskudama or Uskodama. It was the capital of the Bessi[1]. Hadrian developed it, adorned it with monuments, changed its name to Hadrianopolis, and made it the capital of the Roman province of Haemimont, or Thrace. Licinius was defeated there by Constantine I in 323, and Valens was killed by the Goths in 378 during the Battle of Adrianople. In 813 the city was seized by Khan Krum of Bulgaria who moved its inhabitants to the Bulgarian lands towards the north of the Danube.

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, and three years later was defeated at Klokotnitsa by Asen, Emperor of the Bulgarians.

Following its capture by the Ottoman Sultan Murad I in 1365, Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1453; until the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) which became the empire's new capital.

Under Ottoman rule Adrianople was the principal city of a vilayet (province) of the same name, both of which were later renamed as Edirne. Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, was born in Adrianople.

Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, lived in Edirne from 1863 to 1868. He was exiled there by the Ottoman Empire before being banished further to the Ottoman penal colony in Akka. He referred to Edirne in his writings as the "Land of Mystery" [1].

Ottoman Külliye and Hospital built by Bayezid II

Edirne was a sanjak centre during the Ottoman period and was bound to, successively, the Rumeli Eyalet and Silistre Eyalet before becoming a province centre at the beginning of the 19th century. Edirne Province comprised the sanjaks of Edirne, Tekfurdağı, Gelibolu, Filibe and İslimye before 1878.

The subdivisions of the Edirne Province before 1878 were:[2]

  • Sanjak of Gelibolu: Kazas of Gelibolu, Gümülcine, Şarköy, Enez, Evreşe and Keşan. Gümülcine was a kaza of the Filibe sanjak at the beginning of the 19th century.

The subdivisions of the Edirne Province between 1878-1912 were:[3]

  • Sanjak of Gelibolu: Kazas of Gelibolu, Eceovası (its center was Maydos and renamed as Eceabat in 1923), Mürefte, Şarköy and Keşan.

Edirne was briefly occupied by imperial Russian troops in 1829, during the Greek War of Independence; and in 1878, during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. The city suffered greatly in 1905 from a conflagration. In 1905 it had about 80,000 inhabitants, of whom 30,000 were Muslims (Turks and some Albanians, Roma and Circassians); 22,000 Greeks; 10,000 Bulgarians; 4,000 Armenians; 12,000 Jews; and 2,000 more citizens of non-classifiable ethnic/religious backgrounds. Edirne was a vital fortress defending Ottoman Constantinople and Eastern Thrace during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13. It was briefly occupied by the Bulgarians in 1913, following the Battle of Odrin; and by the Greeks between the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920 and the end of the Turkish War of Independence in 1922.

According to the 2007 census, Edirne Province had a population of 382,222 inhabitants. The city is a thriving center of commerce for woven textiles, silks, carpets and agricultural products.

Ecclesiastical history

Adrianople was made the seat of a Greek metropolitan and of a Gregorian Armenian bishop, Adrianople is also the centre of a Bulgarian diocese, but not recognized and deprived of a bishop. The city also had some Protestants. The Latin Catholics, foreigners for the most part, and not numerous, were dependent of the vicariate-apostolic of Constantinople. At Adrianople itself were the parish of St. Anthony of Padua (Minors Conventual) and a school for girls conducted by the Sisters of Charity of Agram. In the suburb of Karaağaç were a church (Minor Conventuals), a school for boys (Assumptionists) and a school for girls (Oblates of the Assumption). Each of its mission stations, at Tekirdağ and Alexandroupoli, had a school (Minor Conventuals), and there was one at Gallipoli (the Assumptionists).

Around 1850, from the standpoint of the Oriental Catholics, Adrianople was the residence of a Bulgarian vicar-apostolic for the 4,600 Uniats of the Ottoman vilayet (province) of Thrace and after 1878 - of the principality of Bulgaria. They had 18 parishes or missions, 6 of which were in the principality, with 20 churches or chapels, 31 priests, of whom 6 were Assumptionists and 6 were Resurrectionists; 11 schools with 670 pupils. In Adrianople itself were only a very few United Bulgarians, with an Episcopal church of St. Elias, and the churches of St. Demetrius and Sts. Cyril and Methodius. The last is served by the Resurrectionists, who have also a college of 90 pupils. In the suburb of Karaağaç, the Assumptionists have a parish and a seminary with 50 pupils. Besides the Uniate Bulgarians, the above statistics included the Greek Catholic missions of Malgara (now Malkara) and Daoudili (now Davuteli village in Malkara), with 4 priests and 200 faithful, because from the civil point of view belonged to the Bulgarian Vicariate.

Later however, the Roman Catholic diocese was discontinued, and exists only in name as a titular metropolitan archbishopric, under the full name Hadrianopolis in Haemimonto to distinguish it from several other titular sees named Hadrianopolis.

Culture, sites and partnership with Europe

Houses in Edirne

Edirne is a gateway to Turkey, opening to western world and the first stopover for newcomers from Europe. Situated near the Greek (7 km) and Bulgarian (20 km) borders, this beautiful city is famed for its many mosques, elegant domes and minarets. Adrianople contains the ruins of the ancient palace of the Sultans and the Selimiye Mosque, one of the most important monuments in this ancient province; built in 1575 and designed by Turkey's greatest master architect, Mimar Sinan, it has the highest minarets in Turkey, at 70.9 meters, of an altogether grandiose appearance, and a cupola three or four feet higher than that of St. Sophia in Istanbul. Carrying the name of the then reigning the Ottoman Sultan Selim II, this mosque magnificently represents Turkish marble handicrafts and it is covered with valuable tiles and fine paintings.

Symbolic inscription consisting of two "waw" letters on the walls of the 'Ulu Mosque'

Another notable building is the Trakya University's Bayezid II Külliye Health Museum, a great monument with its complex construction comprising many facilities used in those times.

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 Murad II. There are the amazing caravansaries, like the Rustem Pasha and Ekmekcioglu Ahmet Pasha caravansaries, which were designed to host travelers, in the 16th century.

Of Edirne's Christian heritage, there remain two Bulgarian Orthodox churches: Saint George (dating to 1880) and Saints Constantine and Helena (built in 1869). The Bulgarian churches were reconstructed in the 2000s with the cooperation of Turkey, using mostly Bulgarian state funds. They are both in a good condition today; Saint George also has a Bulgarian library and an ethnographic collection. The two Bulgarian churches are the only functioning Christian places of worship in the city today, as none of the Greek churches are active or even preserved.[4][5][6]

Bulgarian Church of St. George

A cultural partnership with Loerrach in Germany has been started in 2006. The goal is to exchange pupils and students to improve their cultural skills and understanding.


Every year in June there is an oil-wrestling festival called Kırkpınar, said to be the oldest active sport organization after the Olympic Games (which were refounded after centuries of inactivity).


High Schools

  • 80th Year of Republic Anatolian High School (80. Yıl Cumhuriyet Anadolu Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne High School (Anatolian High School) (Edirne Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne Yildirim Anatolian High School (Edirne Anadolu Lisesi - Yıldırım Anadolu Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne Anatolian Teacher Training High School (Edirne Anadolu Öğretmen Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne Suleyman Demirel Science & Maths High School (Edirne Fen Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne İlhami Ertem High School(Edirne İlhami Ertem Lİsesi in Turkish)


See also


  1. ^ The History of Rome, Volume 4 by Theodor Mommsen , 2009, page 53: "... defeated the Bessi in their mountains, took their capital Uscudama (Adrianople), and compelled them to submit to the Roman supremacy.
  2. ^ http://acikarsiv.ankara.edu.tr/fulltext/3066.pdf Organizational structure and subdivisions of the Edirne Province in 1876
  3. ^ http://alex.eled.duth.gr/Istoria/thrace_english/Thracee7_7.htm Thrace from the Congress Of Berlin till the Balkan Wars (1878-1912)
  4. ^ "PM attends church consecration in Edirne". Bulgarian National Radio. 2008-09-14. http://www.bnr.bg/RadioBulgaria/Emission_English/News/1409-B2.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  5. ^ "Bulgarian churches revived in Edirne". Bulgarian Diocese of Western and Central Europe. 2004-09-05. http://www.rilaeu.com/BGOK0/SehenJPG/Odrin.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  6. ^ Филева, Мария (2008-01-05). "Иван Желев: Двете български църкви в Одрин са единствените запазени православни храмове в региона". Двери БГ. http://www.dveri.bg/content/view/5696/48/. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 

External links

Coordinates: 41°40′N 26°34′E / 41.667°N 26.567°E / 41.667; 26.567

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Edirne (pronounced eh-deer-neh) is a city in Eastern Thrace, in northwest Turkey.

Edirne with Selimiye Mosque in the centre
Edirne with Selimiye Mosque in the centre

This city can be your first or last destination in Turkey, depening on the direction of your itinenary, as it’s located on an intersection where borders of three countries meet: Turkey, Greece, and Bulgaria. Visiting this city is also feasible as a long day trip from Istanbul.

Edirne’s former name is Adrianople, i.e. “City of Hadrianus”, named after the Roman emperor who founded the city on the site of Thracian village of Uskudama. Between 1700 and 1750, Edirne was the fourth biggest city in Europe, with a population of about 350,000 people (it’s hardly 150,000 today). It also served Ottoman Empire as its capital city before Constantinople was captured. All these make up for city’s historical outlook, from huge Ottoman imperial complexes to neo-classical architecture of downtown shops, although at first sight, all you’ll see will be concrete apartment blocks when entering the city (and Selimiye Mosque right in front of you).

Edirne is nowadays the capital of Edirne Province.


Temperate continental – hot and occasionally rainy (as showers which tend to last for 15-20 minutes) summers (expect up to 40º C); cold and rainy, occasionally snowy winters (expect down to -10º C). Spring and autumn months tend to be warmer than the locations on the sea coast (such as Istanbul), but winter arrives earlier (in November). Because Edirne lies in a geography that is the entering point of many weather systems from Balkans (Southeastern Europe) into Turkey, a good way of forecasting the weather conditions for the next few days is to follow what other Balkan cities such as Plovdiv, Bulgaria is currently experiencing, as quite the same conditions will be what Edirne is experiencing within a two or three days time.

Get in

By bus

Easiest way to reach to Edirne is by bus from Istanbul. Departures are at any time with a fare of some €10 and a trip of two hours. Bus station in Edirne is located out of the city but free service midibuses will take you to the city center.

There are no direct buses to Bulgaria. It is, however, possible to take a taxi to Kapikule on the Bulgarian border. From there one can sometimes wave over a bus traveling on to Plovdiv and Sofia. Another approach could be to walk across the border and take a bus or train from Kapitan Andreevo on the Bulgarian side of the border.

By train

There are two daily trains from Istanbul’s Sirkeci station (one at 8:30AM in the morning, and the other at about 4PM in the afternoon. Both arrives in Edirne about four hours later). Trains from Europe to Istanbul also call at the city station.

By car

The city is on the main highways linking Turkey and Europe (road numbers: toll-free D100 and toll-road/motorway O-3/E80). A drive takes no more than two hours from Istanbul (224 km away) to Edirne on the motorway, even less if you drive very fast. The main European-Turkish border post Kapikule/Kapitan Andreevo (between Turkey and Bulgaria, SE of Svilengrad) is about 15-20 km away from the city, while less significant Pazarkule border post (between Turkey and Greece, north of Orestiada) is even nearer.

Get around

Almost entirety of Edirne is in walking distance.However for some relatively distant places you may take taxi which will cost only a few euros.

There are also lots of minibuses heading for outer neighborhoods of the city.

  • Selimiye Mosque - that mosque which dominates the skyline of the city. A grandiose piece of art by Sinan, the Ottoman architect of 16th century. Sinan himself considered this building as his best work. The dome of the building had the largest diameter (31.28 mt) of all domes in the world for several centuries. And its minarets (towers) are the second highest minarets (70.89 mt) in whole world, surpassed only by Qutb Minar (72.50 mt) in Delhi, India. The mosque has 999 windows in total, which according to its architect Sinan, symbolize the perfectness of God. If you have admired Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque) of Istanbul, you’ll sure adore this one, since Blue Mosque is quite a copy of Selimiye. Free admission
  • Arasta – This is one of the covered bazaars of Edirne. Next to Selimiye.
  • Old Mosque (Eski Camii) - The smallest –and the oldest- one of three nearby, imperial mosques in downtown Edirne, it's known for its calligraphic inscriptions on its interior walls.
  • Üç Şerefeli (Three Balconies) Mosque - Just north of Eski Camii, this mosque is easily recognizable, having four distinctive minarets that all have very different designs, one of which has three balconies, uncommon during the 15th century, giving it it's name. Free admission
  • Behind this mosque stands the last tower of Edirne’s city walls. It's named Makedonya Kulesi (“Macedonian Tower”), a round and robust tower, not unlike Thessaloniki's White Tower except its colour, and next to it is the last visible section of city walls. It’s possible to enter the tower itself, but impossible to climb upstairs. It’s located in a back alley, so while you are near the Three Minaret, look around on the top of buildings to see the flag on a tower made of red-brick if you can’t exactly find it. The tower also served as a clock tower until 1953, when the upper part of the tower was demolished because of the danger of collapse.
  • Saraçlar Caddesi (Street) in downtown is a pedestrianized shopping street with pleasant cafés on sides. The old shop buildings on this street has a distinctively neoclassical architecture.
  • Maarif Caddesi and the adjoining streets, located a few blocks west from Saraçlar Cad., is where lots of historical wooden houses are located. Their walls are decorated with highly delicate handwork. Also on one end of Maarif Cad. is the Jewish Synagogue, the biggest one in Turkey and the whole Balkans, but is slowly decaying now. Almost all of its wooden sections (roof, windows) has collapsed in one way or the other, but its stone walls are sound enough to show its former grandeur. Entry is forbidden.
  • Muradiye Mosque
  • Beyazit Complex
  • Medical Museum (Sağlık Müzesi)– This museum, which was awarded “European Museum of the Year” in early 2000s, was essentially a mental institution used during Ottoman times. It was notable for its “progressive”/”alternative” approach towards its patients. Instead of locking them into cells with shackles, which was widespread during that time, methods such as meditative music or flower gardens were tried in this institution.
  • Balkan Wars Martyrdom (Balkan Savaşları Şehitliği) – On the highest hill of the city, next to the city cemetery. The hill gives a nice view of the city and the forests surrounding the rivers behind. Free admission
  • Museum of Archeology
  • Museum of Islamic Arts
  • Justice Court (Adalet Kasrı) - former Ottoman imperial residence before the dynasty moved to Istanbul in 15th century. Unused for nearly five centuries, there is only one tower of it left, fortunately in an intact state. It’s located in the outskirts of the city, near a river (Tundza probably). Also Kırkpınar Pasture where oil-wrestling competitions take place every year is nearby.
  • Old Bridges
  • Karaağaç Quarter (pronounced kaa-rraa-ah-ach) - Although very quiet now, it used to be main nightlife spot of the city in the past. You’ll pass on two old and very long bridges (on Tundza (tr.:Tunca) and Maritsa (tr.:Meriç) rivers respectively, Maritsa bridge is gloriously longer as the riverbed is gloriously larger) and a cobbled road going through a forest of centuries-old trees on the way to Karaağaç from downtown. While you are in Karaağaç, don’t forget to take a look at the historical building of Presidency of Trakya University (Rektörlük), which served as the main train station of the city for years. Also you can check out the Lausanne Monument (a modern art monument which consist of three poles which symbolize Turkish motherland: the longest one symbolizes Anatolia, or Asian Turkey, the middle-sized symbolizes Eastern Thrace, while the shortest symbolizes Karaağaç itself, being the only Turkish soil west of Maritsa River, in other words west of Eastern Thrace) and the open air sculpture exhibition in the Presidency’s yard, which contains marble statues chipped in situ by sculptors from countries neighbouring Turkey.
Young oil wrestlers
Young oil wrestlers
  • Watch an oil-wrestling (yağlı güreş) competition, the national sport of Turks (although surpassed a little by soccer lately), which takes place in Kırkpınar Pasture in the outskirts of the city every year (although dates vary year to year, it always takes place in late spring or early summer, such months as May, June or July). This is the most prestigous wrestling tournament in Turkey and the winner is titled başpehlivan (“chief of all wrestlers”) of the year.


Edirne is famous for its fruit-shaped soaps. They are not used for cleaning (although they can clean as well as other soaps do) but for decoration. Within the first months you put them into a room, they also work as natural air fresheners by releasing their fragrances.


Liver (ciğer) is a definitely must-try for non-vegetarians. It is prepared in a unique local way (whole pieces, not puree, of liver are fried inside a cauldron full of boiling vegetable oil) and served with an infernally hot dried pepper. If you are one of those who don’t like liver because of its distinct smell, you can be pretty sure you won’t sense it in Edirne liver. Best to be eaten with ayran, a salty yogurt drink because it’s one of two things (the other is bread, which fortunately is served free of charge at liver restaurants) that can suppress the fire the dried pepper leaves on your palate. There are lots of liver-only restaurants (ciğerci) in downtown, especially in the street behind the Old Mosque (Eski Cami). They also order other meals from nearby restaurants for those who are with you and do not want to eat liver.

  • Ciğerci Kemal, Alipaşa Orta Kapı Cad. no: 3, +90 284 213 64 75, [1]. Local fried liver restaurant. From 5 TL.  edit
  • Soylu Tava Ciğer Döner / Mehmet Soylu, Hasan Sezai Türbesi karşısı, Bostanpazarı, +90 284 214 17 67.  edit

Almond paste (badem ezmesi) is a local, soft cookie-like dessert which is made of bitter almond.


Compared with most cities of its size in Turkey, Edirne is full of birahanes (pubs) and restaurants that serve alcohol. There are some particuarly nice ones by the river on the road to Karaagac.

  • There is an open-air café (Sera Café) amidst a beautifully landscaped park in front of Selimiye where you can have a cup of tea or coffee and watch the city.


Tourism in Edirne is on the rise and hotel scene is improving with many nice hotels to stay.

  • Efe Hotel, Maarif Cad. no: 13 (in city centre), +90 284 213 61 66 (fax: +90 284 60 80), [2]. Rooms with air conditioner, satellite TV, hot water, and free of charge wireless internet access. US$ 80 (single rooms) - US$ 110 (double rooms).  edit
  • Hotel Şaban Açıkgöz, Çilingirler Cad. no: 9, +90 284 213 03 13 (, fax: +90 284 214 50 06), [3]. Rooms with en-suite bathrooms, air conditioner, and TV.  edit

Stay safe

Avoid hanging around the banks of Tundza and Maritsa Rivers and Karaağaç before/during/after a heavy rainfall, especially in wintertime. Although the downtown is never effected, these areas tend to have a heavy flood during such a time, mainly because of overflowing of dams located upriver in Bulgaria. So if you are in Edirne in winter and plan to visit the aforementioned locations (which you should), stay ahead of weather forecasts. If you see a water rise in the river, be suspicious, call and inform police (telephone number: 155), and quickly go to somewhere far from and higher than riverbed as much as possible. The buildings themselves in Karaağaç are rarely or lightly effected, but the problem is that the quarter is cut off from the rest of the world as the bridges which connect it to downtown Edirne sink underwater. If you are trapped in such a situation, be sure about your distance to the river and wait for evacuation crews. Because effected areas are generally the same in each flood, they are quick to respond with their boats and gear.


City’s telephone code is 284 (+90 284 when calling from out of Turkey).

  • Enez on the shore of Aegean Sea is a popular town among the Edirneans to spend the summer.
  • Tekirdağ to the south on the coast of the Sea of Marmara, then on to Istanbul if you have just arrived in Turkey from Europe.
  • Or taking a more southernly route towards Canakkale via Gallipoli and from there on to Aegean Turkey.
  • Uzunköprü to the south is a small city named after the longest stone bridge in the world—a work of Sinan. The bridge is at the northern entrance of Uzunköprü, on the highway from Edirne.
Routes through Edirne
SofiaPlovdivTurkish-Bulgarian border ←  W noframe E  CorluIstanbul
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