Edirne is a city in Eastern Thrace, the northwestern part of Turkey, close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne served as the third capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1413 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.
Culture, sites and partnership with Europe
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 Byzantine Orthodox Cathedral ( museum) 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.