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A beautiful and mysterious landscape full of tradition
Turkey's Western Most City

Edirne in Turkey’s Western Province known as Thrace, is the gateway to the Western Borders of Turkey with Bulgaria and Greece.

Founded by the Thracians that migrated from Middle Asia in the ancient times, the city was named, “Pasa Sancagi during the Ottoman era. Edirne grew in importance and served as the capital city for the Ottoman Empires for 92 years before Istanbul. The Conqueror Fatih Sultan Mehmet was born in Edirne.

Edirne tends to have a long cold winter followed by warm summer months. The Meric River runs through the city, and beautiful stone villages abound namely the Beyazit Gazi Mihal, Yildirim, Yalniz Goz, Fatih and Sarachane. To sit by the Meric River and gaze at the lovely stone Tunca Bridge is sheer joy!

What to See

The city abounds in historic buildings and mosques. Namely the Edirne Archeology and Ethnography Museum, Museum of Islamic Arts, Turkish of Psychiatry Museum and The Lausanne Monument and Museum all exhibit the local artifacts and the history of the region.

The Enez (Ainos) Castle, the Church of Sweti George, the Church of Sts. Constantine and Helen, the Jewish Synagogue, Adalet Kasri (Justice Tower), Rüstem Pasha Caravanserai and Defterdar, Darül Hadis, Ayşekadın mosques are some of historical monuments of the city. However the most impressive mosque is Selimiye. Designed by the revered architect Mimar Sinan, who was born in a small house next to the site of the mosque. It was completed prior to his death at 94. It is said that The Sultan Suleyiman the Magnificent upon the opening this beautiful mosque handed the keys to Sinan and honoured him by allowing him to be the first person to step inside – ahead of the Sultan himself.

Another story connected to the Selimiye Mosque. The land on which the mosque was built was previously a tulip farm, however the woman who owned the field was very difficult to deal with. On the proviso that he put a tulip in the design she finally agreed for the mosque to be built on the site. Sinan honoured his promise but he placed the tulip at the base of one of the columns at the front – upside down!

One of the highlights of the city are the Gulres, or Kirkpinar, or wrestling events which take place during one week of the year. A wrestling contest takes place in the area of Saravici, and a master Pehlivan is the one who takes victory out of 1000 Phelivans (wrestler). The participants wear specific water buffalo leather pants called kisbet. The matches commence after a visit to two famous wrestlers Adali Halil and Kara Emin and finishes with a march to the city hall to deliver the golden belt by the master Phelivan.

To the south of Saros Gulf is the gateway to the Aegean Sea. Saros is where you can enjoy the sun and the sea on one of its many beaches such as. Enez, Güneyli, Keşan and Uzunkum beaches It is here that the Meric River runs into the Aegean.

Where to Shop

Its historical Arasta Bazaar is located close to Selimiye Mosque and the Ali Pasa Bazaar (or Kaleici – meaning old city) is located in the centre of the city. Both these bazaars have many interesting goods – famous in Edirne is Kokulu Sobun (sweet selling soaps in the shape of fruits) and its decorated brooms!

What to Eat

Try tasting the local specialties such as Kavala cookies and almond paste as well as pan fried liver, damat paçası (kind of pastry with chicken baked), mamzana (salad with eggplant) and ciğer sarma (a type of liver meal), The white cheese produced in Edirne is very famous throughout Turkey. Elbasan tava and satır köfte (meatballs in local style). Hardaliye, which is a drink of mustard mixed with almonds and with grape juice. is a local delicious drink.

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