Just a short-day trip away from İstanbul to the west of Turkey, close to the borders of Greece and Bulgaria; Edirne can be both a city break from İstanbul and a trip in and of itself. It’s a fascinating city and well worth the time to explore!

Edirne was historically known as Adrianople, or ‘‘City of Hadrian’’, named after the Roman Emperor who founded the city on the site of Uskudama, a previous Thracian village. The city later became the capital of the Ottoman Empire, from 1369 until 1453.

As a gate of Anatolia to the Balkans and Europe, Edirne has a rich variety of historical and cultural attractions.  The city that served as the capital of the Ottoman Empire; it is adorned with historical monuments such as inns, mosques, bridges and bazaars. The traces of the city’s remarkable past can be seen in these works.

 

Places to visit

SELIMIYE MOSQUE & ITS SOCIAL COMPLEX

Constructed by the architect Mimar Sinan between 1569 and 1575, the Selimiye Mosque and its complex are inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List in 2011. A masterpiece of Turkish art and in the history of world architecture, the Selimiye Mosque is visible from all parts of the city with its monumental dome and four slender minarets. Besides its unique architectural characteristics, the mosque evokes admiration with its exquisite details in its carved-stonework and marble, glazed tiles, wood carving and mother-of-pearl inlays.

MUSEUM OF HEALTH

The extremely beautiful darüşşifa (hospital) and tip medresesi (medical school) in the Sultan Beyazıt II mosque complex now house this museum tracing the history of Islamic medicine. Overseen by Trakya Üniversitesi, the museum highlights innovative treatments developed and utilized in the hospital and medical school here from 1488 to 1909. Mannequins dressed as Ottoman-era doctors, patients and medical students are used in scenes illustrating various medical procedures, and interpretative panels explain the connection between the hospital’s physical design and treatments.

THE KIRKPINAR OIL WRESTLING FESTIVAL

The Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival holds the Guinness Book of Records title for the longest consecutively held sporting event in the world. In 2010 the festival was also added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival is an annual tournament held in Edirne. Wrestling competitions last for seven days and are generally held at the end of June each year and feature local food, dances and music.

This festival is a highly recommended celebration of a truly unique tradition. From traditional oil wrestling, to traditional singing, dancing and feasting, Kırkpınar is a must-attend for any visitor!

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