Edirne Information

Edirne , Turkey

Edirne (Turkish pronunciation: [eˈdiɾne]) is a city in Eastern Thrace, the northwestern part of Turkey, close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1453, before 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 2010 was 138,793, 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 Alexandroupolis in Greece. There is a Jewish community.


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 or Uscudama . It was the capital of the Bessi.[2] or of the Odrysians. 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 (378). 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.
Symbolic inscription consisting of two "waw" letters on the walls of the Eski Cami (Old Mosque, also known as Ulu Cami, meaning Grand Mosque) built between 1403 and 1414.

The date of the capture of the town by the Turks is discussed, the various years proposed by historians ranging from 1361 to 1371. From the reign of Ottoman Sultan Murad I to 1453, Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire, 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. It was here that he fell under the influence of some Hurufis known as Certain accursed ones of no significance, who were burnt as heretics by Mahmut Paşa.[4]

Sultan Mehmed IV left the palace in Constantinople and died in Edirne in 1693.

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".
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.

    Sanjak of Edirne: Kazas of Edirne, Dimetoka, Kırkkilise, Maa Çimren Cisr-i Mustafa Paşa, Cisr-i Ergene, Babay-ı Atik, Beykar Hisar, Maa Hatunili-Kızılağaç, Havsa, Ferecik.

    Sanjak of İslimye: Kazas of İslimye, Ahyolu, Misivri, Burgaz, Aydos, Karinabad, Yanbolu and Zağra-i Cedit.

    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.

    Sanjak of Filibe: Kazas of Filibe, Pazarcık, Zagra-i Atik, Hasköy, Kazanlı, Çırpan, Ahiçelebi, Sultanyeri.

    Sanjak of Tekfurdağı: Kazas of Tekfurdağı, Vize, Çorlu, Lüleburgaz, Malkara, Midye, Hayrabolu.

The subdivisions of the Edirne Province between 1878-1912 were:[7]

    Sanjak of Edirne:
Kazas of Edirne, Havsa, Dimetoka, Mustafapaşa, Ortaköy, Cisr-i Ergene and Kırcaali.

    Sanjak of Kırkkilise: Kazas of Kırkkilise, Ahtabolu, Vize, Midye, Lüleburgaz, Babaeski and Tırnovacık.

    Sanjak of Tekfurdağı: Kazas of Tekfurdağı, Çorlu, Malkara and Hayrabolu.

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

    Sanjak of Dedeağaç: Kazas of Dedeağaç, Enez and Sofulu.

    Sanjak of Gümülcine: Kazas of Gümülcine, İskeçe, Ahiçelebi, Darıdere, Eğridere and Sultanyeri.

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.
Culture, sites and partnership with Europe
the Edirne Municipality building

Situated near the Greek (7 km) and Bulgarian (20 km) borders, this city is famed for its many mosques, domes and minarets. Adrianople contains the ruins of the ancient palace of the Ottoman 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 and a cupola three or four feet higher than that of Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul. Carrying the name of the then reigning the Ottoman Sultan Selim II, this mosque represents Turkish marble handicrafts and it is covered with valuable tiles and fine paintings.

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

Besides the mosques, there are different sites to be visited in Edirne, all reflecting its rich past. The most prominent place being the Edirne Palace, which was the "Palace of the Empire" built during the reign of Murad II. There are caravansaries, like the Rustem Pasha and Ekmekcioglu Ahmet Pasha caravansaries, which were designed to host travelers, in the 16th century.

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


Oil-wrestling at Kırkpınar

Edirne is home to the traditional oil-wrestling tournament called Kırkpınar. Held every year in June, it is said[by whom?] to be the oldest active sport organization after the Olympic Games that were refounded only after centuries of inactivity.

Another international festival in Edirne is Kakava, a celebration of Romani people held on May 5 each year.

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