Tekirdag Information

Tekirdag , Turkey

Tekirdağ (pronounced [tekiɾdaɣ]; see also its other names), the ancient Bisanthi or Bysanthe[2][3] (Ancient Greek: Βισάνθη or Βυσάνθη), is a city in Turkey. It is a part of the region historically known as Eastern Thrace. Tekirdağ is the capital of Tekirdağ Province. The city population as of 2009 was 140,535.[4] There are honorary consulates of Hungary and Bulgaria in Tekirdağ.

The history of the city of Tekirdağ dates back to around 4000 BC.[6] The ancient Greek city of Rodosto is said to have been founded by Samians. In Xenophon’s Anabasis it is mentioned to be a part of the kingdom of the Thracian prince Seuthes. It is also mentioned as Bisanthe by Herodotus (VII, 137).
Its restoration by Justinian I in the 6th century A.D. is chronicled by Procopius. In 813 and again in 1206 it was sacked by the Bulgarians after the Battle of Rodosto, but it continued to appear as a place of considerable note in later Byzantine history. It was also ruled by Venetians between 1204-1235. The eleventh century Byzantine historian Michael Attaleiates owned property in Raidestos which he describes in his will.

In the Ottoman period the city was successively a part of the vilayet (province) of Rumelia, Kaptanpaşa (centered at Gelibolu), Silistre and Edirne.

In 1905, the city had a population of about 35,000; of whom half were Greeks[7] who were exchanged with Muslims living in Greece under the 1923 agreement for Exchange of Greek Orthodox and Muslim Populations between the two countries.

Tekirdağ was for many years a depot for the produce of the Edirne province, but its trade suffered when Alexandroupolis became the terminus of the railway up the river Maritsa.

Tekirdağ today

The Tekirdağ area is the site of many holiday homes, as the city is only two hours drive from Istanbul via a new four-lane highway. The villages of Şarköy, Mürefte and Kumbağ are particularly popular with Turkish tourists. Much of this holiday property has been built in an unregulated and unplanned manner and thus much of the coast looks over-built. The Marmara Sea is polluted but there are still a number of public beaches near Tekirdağ.

Tekirdağ is a Turkish commercial town centre with a harbour for agricultural products; the harbor is being expanded to accommodate a new rail link to the main freight line through Thrace. Tekirdağ is the home port of Martas and the BOTAŞ Terminal, both of which are important for trade activities in the Marmara Region.

Most of the city's Ottoman wooden buildings have been replaced by concrete apartment blocks, but some are being restored or replaced with attractive houses in the traditional style. Except for the Rüstem Paşa Camii, built by the Ottoman architect, Mimar Sinan, in the 16th century, and the narrow streets that help one imagine life in the Ottoman period, the city lacks antique charm. One reason to visit is the local delicacy, the small spicy cylindrical grilled meatballs called Tekirdağ köftesi, traditionally followed by courses of a sweet local cheese and semolina pudding.

The inland areas are fertile farmland, growing crops including winter wheat, sunflowers, cherries and grapes for wine-making: thus the high quality rakı for which Tekirdağ is noted. The distilleries were state-owned until the 1990s but are now in private hands and the wine and rakı industries are undergoing a renewal. Local red wines are inexpensive and worth a taste.

Both the east-west highway (the Via Egnatia from Roman times) and the highway north toward Muratlı and Lüleburgaz are four lanes. There is a prison next to the rakı distillery and another north of the city on the road to Muratlı.

Tekirdağ is the home of Namık Kemal University, which was founded in 2006 with three faculties. It is located at the eastern edge of the city.

Places of interest

    The Rakoczi Museum, an 18th-century Turkish house, where the Hungarian national hero, Francis II Rákóczi lived during his exile, from 1720 till his death in 1735. Today, the museum is a property of the Republic of Hungary and is widely visited, having become a place of national pilgrimage.
    The church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Rheumatocratissa contains the graves, with long Latin inscriptions, of other Hungarians who took refuge here with their leader.
    The birthplace of 19th-century poet, Namık Kemal, now a museum to his life and work.
    Of all the statues of Atatürk in Turkey, the town centre of Tekirdağ holds the only one that was made exactly life-size

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