Lots of historical buildings and mosques dating back to the Ottoman Empire garnish Edirne which was used to be the capital city of the Ottoman Empire. The city has the appearance of an open air museum with its mosques, complex of buildings adjacent to a mosque, bridges, old bazaars, caravanserais and palaces. This historical city is located on a green plain between Meric and Tuna rivers, on the highway from Europe to Asia and on the borders of Greece. The folk living in Edirne and its neighborhood originated from the first Macedonians. The city renovated during Hadrian period, a Roman empire, was then re-named as Hadrianopolis (Adrianopel). After the division of the Roman Empire, the city was left to the Byzantium and it was conquered by the Ottoman Padishah Murad I in 1361.
One of the most significant buildings of classical Ottoman architecture styles, Selimiye Mosque, was built on a hill overlooking the whole the city. The mosque is a masterpiece worth seeing not only because of the grandeur of its dome and minarets but also because of its interior ornamentation and tiles. Edirne Selimiye Mosque, built 1569-1575, is such a perfect piece with its technique-perfection, sizes and aesthetical values that it causes famous architects to say “This is not manmade; it is a divine temple descending from heaven”. The monumental building built by Mimar Sinan, the best architect of all times, at the age of 80 and described as “my masterpiece” by him is so attractive with its stone, marble, tile, wooden and pearl decoration besides its perfection of its architectural characteristics.
The Beyazıd II Mosque and its complex (1488) built by the bank of River Tunca and at a 2-km distance to the centrum is decorated with a three-balconied minaret and authentic drawings. The Uc Serefeli Mosque (1447) is the second largest mosque of Edirne after Selimiye Mosque.
Eski Mosque (1414) built during the reign of Sultan Mehmed I is accepted as the oldest Ottoman building in Edirne. The portico made of white marbles is in harmony with the wall made of bricks. The interior of the mosque is decorated with calligraphic Koran suras.
There are approximately 80 historical mosques in Edirne. Except for those mentioned above, Yildirim Beyazid Mosque (1397) built in the place of a church is among the oldest mosques. Gazi Mihal Mosque (1422), Sahmelek Pasa Mosque (1429), Ayse Kadin Mosque (1469), Sitti Sultan Mosque (1482), Kadi Bedrettin Mosque (1530), Suleyman Pasa Mosque (1548) are also accepted important Ottoman buildings in terms of architecture.
The region Kaleici has survived from the middle ages without undergoing many changes. A historical section escorts you when you tour in Kaleici with its old houses, narrow and circuitous streets. Edirne has also the most interesting examples of Turkish bath architecture. Of these baths, the most important one is Sokullu bath, a piece of Mimar Sinan. Mimar Sinan also constructed Ahmet Pasha and Rustem Pasha Caravanserais in 1561 besides Edirne, Tahtakale, Mezitbey, Beylerbeyi and Gazi Mihal baths. The caravanserai Rustem Pasha furnishes services as a hotel today.
At tours made in the neighborhood of the city, Ottoman bridges situated over Tunca and Meric Rivers draw attention with all of their aesthetics.
Furthermore, there are many marble fountains in the city. Of them, the biggest one is Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha Fountain (1666). Tavanli Fountain, Haci Adil Bey Fountain, Yeniceri Fountain, Sinan Aga Fountain are among constructions worth seeing.
Bedesten (1417), built at the beginning of 15th century is still in the city square. You should not leave Edirne without touring Bedesten and Ali Pasha Grand Bazaar. On the counters of shops selling comestible, “Edirne Cheese” peculiar to the area is sold in cans. Among other tastes, Devr-i Misk, a kind of restorer, is a very interesting taste. Odorous soaps, pots, baskets and handicrafts made by local women are among popular gifts.
The history of the area can be traced back to pre-historic Byzantium period in Archeology and Ethnography Museums. You can see artworks of the Ottoman Empire, inscriptions, handwritten Korans, weapons; products made of glass and tour an Ottoman tent in Turkish and Islamic Works Museum.
The Darussifa Department of Beyazıd II Complex furnishes service as a health museum today. Medical science of the Ottoman is introduced in this museum. In 15th century, in a period when lunatic people were fired as they were believed to have devils inside them in Europe, they were treated via music in Bayezid Complex Hospital (Bayezid Kulliyesi Sifahanesi) in Edirne. A peaceful atmosphere with fountains and ablution fountains was presented to patients here and various musical tunes used to be used for the treatment of many diseases, mental illness first of all. It is understood from the sources that Sifahane (hospital) used to be an important center for the treatments of eye deficiencies.
The City Museum (Kent Muzesi) in Hafizaga Konagi describes the development of Edirne through photos, gravures and inscriptions.
Historical Kirkpinar wrestling is carried out in Sarayici on the east of the city in the last week of June every year. Historical Kirkpinar Greasy Wrestling Competitions being held every year since 1357 managed to be in the Guinness Record Book as the oldest wrestling competition in the world. A great number of domestic and foreign visitors flock to Edirne Sarayici in order to spectate these competitions.
You can view the bridge Ergene when you rest for a while in Uzunkopru on the way to Saroz Bay. Uzunköpru (Ergene Bridge) constructed by the chief architect Muslihiddin for the sultan Murad II between 1427-1443 over River Ergene with 174 arches, at a width of 6,80 meters, at a length of 1392 meters is the longest stone bridge in the world.
Erikli and Ibrice, pleasant resting places on the northern coast of the bay Saroz and known for their mild weather and magnificent scenery charms everybody with its landscapes.
Enez (Ainos) established by Kyme, a city state, in 1200 BC was an important maritime city for Romans, Byzantium and Ottomans though it is 3,5 km innards from the coast. The interesting castle here was built by Romans and then was restored. There are rocky graves a little out of the city. The church dating back to the 6th century in the neighborhood can also be toured. Enez is an interesting resort hotel drawing attention with its crystalline water and its shore.www.edirne.bel.tr www.edirne.gov.tr