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Edirne mosque outside.jpg
Meriç Köprüsü ve Meriç Nehri.jpg KaraağaçRailwayStation.JPG
TreatyOfLausanneMonumentEdirne (2).JPG Nagymecset - Edirne, 2014.10.22 (6).JPG
Nagymecset - Edirne, 2014.10.22 (13).JPG Edirne - 2014.10.22 (4).JPG Orientexpresstrain.jpg
From top down, left to right: Selimiye Mosque, Meriç Bridge, Trakya University (formerly Train Station), Treaty of Lausanne Monument and Museum, Ali Pasha Bazaar, Old Mosque, Town Hall, Historical Express
Edirne is located in Turkey
Location of Edirne within Turkey.
Coordinates: 41°40′37″N 26°33′20″E / 41.67694°N 26.55556°E / 41.67694; 26.55556
Country Turkey
Region Marmara
Province Edirne
 • Mayor Recep Gürkan (CHP)
 • Province 6,098 km2 (2,354 sq mi)
 • City 844 km2 (326 sq mi)
Elevation 42 m (138 ft)
Population [2]
 • Density 196.7/km2 (509/sq mi)
 • Province 400,280
 • City 165,979
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Licence plate 22

Edirne (Turkish pronunciation: [eˈdiɾne]), is a city in the northwestern Turkish province of Edirne, in the region of East Thrace, close to Turkey's borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne served as the third capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1363 to 1453,[3] before Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) became the empire's fourth and final capital. At present, Edirne is the capital of Edirne Province in Turkish Thrace. The city's estimated population in 2014 was 165,979.[2]


The city was founded as Hadrianopolis (Aδριανούπολις in Greek), named for the Roman Emperor Hadrian. This name is still used in the Modern Greek (Αδριανούπολη). The English name Adrianople, by which the city was known until the Turkish Postal Service Law of 1930,[citation needed] has fallen into disuse. The Turkish: Edirne, Bulgarian: Одрин (Odrin, ['odrin]), Albanian: Edrêne, Macedonian: Eдрене (Edrene) and Serbian: Једрене / Jedrene are adapted forms of the name Hadrianopolis or of its Turkish version; see also its other names.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1400s 70,000 —    
1700s 35,000 −50.0%
1800s 33,000 −5.7%
1900s 68,661 +108.1%
1927 34,528 −49.7%
1965 78,161 +126.4%
1970 84,531 +8.1%
1975 94,449 +11.7%
1980 105,503 +11.7%
1985 120,663 +14.4%
1990 124,361 +3.1%
2000 140,830 +13.2%
2010 152,993 +8.6%
2014 165,979 +8.5%

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.


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,[5] or of the Odrysians. Hadrian developed it, adorned it with monuments, changed its name to Hadrianopolis after himself (which would be corrupted into Adrianopolis and Anglicized to Adrianople), and made it the capital of the Roman province of Thrace. Licinius was defeated there by Constantine I in 323, and Emperor Valens was killed by the Goths in 378 during the Battle of Adrianople (378).

Medieval period[edit]

Historical image of Cihannüma Kasrı (Panoramic Pavilion), part of Edirne Palace complex

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.[citation needed]

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, but three years later was defeated at Klokotnitsa by Asen, Emperor of the Bulgarians.

In 1362, the city was conquered by the Ottoman sultan Murad I. He renamed it "Edirne" and made it his new capital in 1363.[6]

The city remained the Ottoman capital for 90 years until 1453, when Mehmed II moved the capital to Constantinople (present-day Istanbul). Edirne is famed for its many mosques, domes, minarets, and palaces from the Ottoman period.

Modern period[edit]

Edirne in the first quarter of the 20th century.
Edirne Municipality

Under Ottoman rule, Edirne was the principal city of the administrative unit, the eponymous Eyalet of Edirne, and after land reforms in 1867, the Vilayet of Edirne. Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, was born in Edirne. It was here that he fell under the influence of some Hurufis dismissed by Taş Köprü Zade in the Şakaiki Numaniye as "Certain accursed ones of no significance", who were burnt as heretics by a certain Mahmud Pasha.[7]

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

During his exile in the Ottoman Empire, the Swedish king Charles XII stayed in the city during most of 1713.[8]

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".[9]

Edirne was a sanjak centre during the Ottoman period and was bound to, successively, the Rumeli Eyalet and Silistre Eyalet before becoming a provincial capital of the Eyalet of Edirne at the beginning of the 19th century; until 1878, the Eyalet of Edirne comprised the sanjaks of Edirne, Tekfurdağı, Gelibolu, Filibe, and İslimye.

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 a fire in 1905. In 1905 it had about 80,000 inhabitants, of whom 30,000 were Turks; 22,000 Greeks; 10,000 Bulgarians; 4,000 Armenians; 12,000 Jews; and 2,000 more citizens of non-classifiable ethnic/religious backgrounds.[citation required]

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 Siege of Adrianople. The Great Powers–Britain, Italy, France, and Russia–forced the Ottoman Empire to cede Edirne to Bulgaria at the end of First Balkan War, which created a political scandal in the Ottoman government in Istanbul (as Edirne was a former capital of the Empire), leading to the 1913 Ottoman coup d'état. Although it was victorious in the coup, the Committee of Union and Progress was unable to keep Edirne, but under Enver Pasha (who proclaimed himself the "second conqueror of Edirne", after Murad I), it retook it from the Bulgarians soon after the Second Balkan War began.

It was occupied by the Greeks between the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920 and their defeat at the end of the Greco-Turkish War, also known as the Western Front of the larger 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.

Panoramic view of the city from Selimiye Mosque.

Ecclesiastical history[edit]

Ottoman külliye and hospital built by Bayezid II

Adrianople was made the seat of a Greek metropolitan and of a Gregorian Armenian bishop. Adrianople is also the centre of a Bulgarian diocese, but not recognized and deprived of a bishop. The city also had some Protestants. The Latin Catholics, foreigners for the most part, and not numerous, were dependent on the vicariate-apostolic of Constantinople. At Adrianople itself were the parish of St. Anthony of Padua (Minors Conventual) and a school for girls conducted by the Sisters of Charity of Agram. In the suburb of Karaağaç were a church (Minor Conventuals), a school for boys (Assumptionists) and a school for girls (Oblates of the Assumption). Each of its mission stations, at Tekirdağ and Alexandroupoli, had a school (Minor Conventuals), and there was one at Gallipoli (the Assumptionists).

Around 1850, from the standpoint of the Oriental Catholics, Adrianople was the residence of a Bulgarian vicar-apostolic for the 4,600 Uniats of the Ottoman vilayet (province) of Thrace and after 1878 - of the principality of Bulgaria. They had 18 parishes or missions, 6 of which were in the principality, with 20 churches or chapels, 31 priests, of whom 6 were Assumptionists and 6 were Resurrectionists; 11 schools with 670 pupils. In Adrianople itself were only a very few United Bulgarians, with an Episcopal church of St. Elias, and the churches of St. Demetrius and Sts. Cyril and Methodius. The last is served by the Resurrectionists, who have also a college of 90 pupils. In the suburb of Karaağaç, the Assumptionists have a parish and a seminary with 50 pupils. Besides the Uniate Bulgarians, the above statistics included the Greek Catholic missions of Malgara (now Malkara) and Daoudili (now Davuteli village in Malkara), with 4 priests and 200 faithful, because from the civil point of view belonged to the Bulgarian Vicariate.

Later however, the Roman Catholic diocese was discontinued, and exists only in name as a titular metropolitan archbishopric, under the full name Hadrianopolis in Haemimonto to distinguish it from several other titular sees named Hadrianopolis.


Edirne has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfa). with long, hot summers and cold and occasionally snowy winters.

Climate data for Edirne
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 20.5
Average high °C (°F) 6.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.6
Average low °C (°F) −0.8
Record low °C (°F) −19.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 53.4
Average rainy days 12.6 9.5 9.6 10.6 10.1 8.2 5.7 4.3 4.7 7.9 10.8 13.8 107.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 74.4 103.6 142.6 192.0 263.5 294.0 328.6 310.0 234.0 161.2 99.0 68.2 2,271.1
Source: Devlet Meteoroloji İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü [10]

Points of interest[edit]

Restored Grand Synagogue of Edirne.

Situated 7 km (4.3 mi) near to the Greek and 20 km (12 mi) to the Bulgarian border, Edirne is famed for its many mosques, domes and minarets. The Selimiye Mosque, built in 1575 and designed by Turkey's greatest master architect, Mimar Sinan (c. 1489/1490–1588), is one of the most important monuments in the city. It has the highest minarets in Turkey, at 70.90 m (232.6 ft) and a cupola 3 or 4 ft (0.91 or 1.22 m) higher than that of Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine Orthodox Cathedral (now museum) in Istanbul. Carrying the name of the then reigning Ottoman Sultan Selim II (r. 1566–1574), this mosque futures Turkish marble handicrafts, and it is covered with valuable tiles and fine paintings. Another notable mosques are Eski Cami (Old Mosque),[11] and Burmalı Cami (Serpent Mosque), aka Üç Şerefeli Mosque.[12]

Edirne has three historic covered bazaars: Arasta, next to Selimiye Mosque, Bedesten next to Eski Cami and Ali Paşa Çarşısı (Ali Pasha Bazaar).

Besides the mosques, there are visitor attractions in Edirne, all reflecting its rich past. The most prominent place being the Edirne Palace (Ottoman Turkish: Saray-ı Cedid-i Amire‎ for "New Imperial Palace") in Sarayiçi quarter, built during the reign of Murad II (r. 1421–1444). Although the buildings of the palace and its bath (Kum Kasrı Hamamı) are in ruined form, the palace gate and the palace kitchen facility are restored. The Kasr-ı Adalet ("Justice Castle"), built as part of the palace complex, stands intact next to the small Fatih Bridge over the Tunca river.[13]

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

The Balkan Wars Memorial Cemetery is located close to the Edirne Palace, with an unknown soldier monument futuring an Ottoman soldier in front of its entrance.[14]

The historic Grand Synagogue of Edirne, abandoned and ruined, was restored and re-opened in March 2015.[15][16][17] A Roman Catholic and two Bulgarian Orthodox churches are found in the city.

Edirne has several historic arch bridges crossing over the rivers Meriç and Tunca, which flow around west and south of the city.

There are caravansaries, like the Rustem Pasha and Ekmekcioglu Ahmet Pasha caravansaries, which were designed to host travelers, in the 16th century.

The historic Karaağaç railway station hosts today, after redevelopment, the Trakya University's Faculty of Fine Arts in Karaağaç suburb of Edirne.[14] Next to it, the Treaty of Lausanne Monument and Museum are situated.[13]


Oil-wrestling at Kırkpınar

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

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

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.

Edirne is well known for the local dish "ciğer tava" (breaded and deep-fried liver) served often with cacık, diluted yogurt with chopped cucumber.

Handmade broom with mirror is one of the cultural images of the city. In old times, every bride brought a broom with mirror to her new home so it was an important part of the weddings. It is possible to see many small handmade brooms with mirror in souvenir shops.


Ali Paşa Çarşısı (Ali Pasha Bazaar).

Edirne's economy largely depends on agriculture. 73% of the working population work in agriculture, fishing, forests, hunting. There are lots of things that are cultivated here. Its lowlands are productive. The field crop cultivation has developed so much here. Corn, sugarbeet and sunflower are the first. Melon, watermelon and viniculture are advanced. For the last decade, the agricultural products have doubled. Corn, rice, sunflower, sugarbeet, tomato, eggplant, melon, watermelon, grape are cultivated so much.

The through highway with an important role in global transport that connects Europe to Middle East and Anatolian to Istanbul passes through Edirne.

Also, the existence of many historical and natural touristic places and events lead the fact that tourism has become a leading component of the economic growth of the city in recent years.

Industry has also been developing. Agriculture-based industries (agro-industries) are especially important for the city's economy.


Faculty of Fine Arts of Trakya University, former Karaağaç railway station.


High schools[edit]

  • Beykent Educational Institutions
  • 80th Year of Republic Anatolian High School (80. Yıl Cumhuriyet Anadolu Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne Anatolian Teacher Training High School (Edirne Anadolu Öğretmen Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne Anatolian Technical High School (Edirne Anadolu Teknik Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne Beykent High School of Science (Özel Edirne Beykent Fen Lisesi)
  • Edirne Beykent High School of Anatolian (Özel Edirne Beykent Anadolu Lisesi)
  • Edirne High School (Anatolian High School) (Edirne Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne Ilhami Ertem High School(Edirne İlhami Ertem Lİsesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne Industrial Vocational High School (Edirne Endüstri Meslek Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne Milli Piyango Trade Profession High School( Edirne Milli Piyango Ticaret Meslek Lisesi)
  • Edirne Suleyman Demirel Science & Maths High School (Edirne Fen Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne Yildirim Anatolian High School (Edirne Anadolu Lisesi - Yıldırım Anadolu Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne Fine Arts High School ( Edirne Guzel Sanatlar Lisesi in Turkish)


  • Avrupa Kent
  • Ayşekadın
  • Binevler
  • Esentepe
  • Kaleiçi
  • Karaağaç
  • Kavgaz
  • Kıyık
  • Kirişhane
  • Kooperatifevleri
  • Kutlutaş
  • Küçükpazar
  • Muradiye
  • Saraçhane
  • Umur Bey
  • Yıldırım

Twin cities[edit]

Notable people[edit]

  • Bayezid I (1360–1403), Ottoman sultan from 1389 to 1402
  • Mahmud I (1696–1754), Ottoman sultan from 1730 to 1754
  • Mehmed the Conqueror (1432–1481), Ottoman sultan who conquered Costantinople (today Istanbul)
  • Mustafa II (1664–1703), Ottoman sultan from 1695 to 1703
  • Osman III (1699–1757), Ottoman sultan from 1754 to 1757
  • Cem Adrian (born 1980), Turkish singer-songwriter, author, producer and film director
  • Şevket Süreyya Aydemir (1897–1976), Turkish writer, intellectual, economist, historian
  • Namik Haluk Baskinci (1957–1995), Turkish architect, engineer and musician
  • Özcan Buze (born 1957), Turkish journalist[1] and publicist
  • Atılay Canel (born 1955), Turkish football coach
  • Cavit Erdel (1884–1933), Ottoman Army officer and Turkish Army general
  • Hüsrev Gerede (1884-1962), Ottoman and Turkish Army officer, politician and diplomat
  • Ragıp Gümüşpala (1897-1964), 11th Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces
  • Acun Ilıcalı (born 1969), Turkish television personality and producer
  • Haşim İşcan (1898-1968), Turkish high school teacher, province governor and the first elected mayor of Istanbul
  • Kemal Kerinçsiz (born 1960), Turkish ultra-nationalist lawyer
  • Özlem Kolat (born 1984), Turkish classical clarinet player
  • Michael Petkov (1850-1921), Bulgarian Eastern Catholic priest
  • Muharrem Korhan Yamaç (born 1972), Paralympics, world and European champion disabled sport shooter
  • Nikos Zachariadis (1903 – 1973), General Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognised as an independent state by 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.


  1. ^ "HGK" (PDF). General Command of Mapping. Retrieved 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "TUIK". TUIK. Retrieved 2014. 
  3. ^ "In 1363 the Ottoman capital moved from Bursa to Edirne, although Bursa retained its spiritual and economic importance." Ottoman Capital Bursa. Official website of Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Cencuses by Years". TUIK. 
  5. ^ The History of Rome, Volume 4 by Theodor Mommsen , 2009, page 53: "... defeated the Bessi in their mountains, took their capital Uscudama (Adrianople), and compelled them to submit to the Roman supremacy
  6. ^ "It served as the capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1413 until 1453 and flourished as an administrative, commercial, and cultural centre." "Edirne" Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 19 December 2014
  7. ^ John Kingsley Birge, The Bektashi Order of Dervishes, 1982 (p 60 - 62)
  8. ^ "Adrianopel" in Nordisk familjebok (2nd edition, 1904)
  9. ^ "Bahá'í Reference Library - The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Page 196". Reference.bahai.org. 2010-12-31. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  10. ^ "İl ve İlçelerimize Ait İstatistiki Veriler- Meteoroloji Genel Müdürlüğü". Dmi.gov.tr. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  11. ^ a b Edirne: Eski Cami - Ulu Cami
  12. ^ "Üç Şerefeli Cami" (in Turkish). Edirne Vergi Dairesi Başkanlığı. Retrieved 2015-05-09. 
  13. ^ a b "Edirne Anıtları-Lozan Anıtı" (in Turkish). Edirne Vergi Dairesi Başkanlığı. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  14. ^ a b "Anıtlar" (in Turkish). Edirne Vergi Dairesi Başkanlığı. Retrieved 2015-05-09. 
  15. ^ "Edirne Sinagogu 46 yıl sonra yeniden ibadete açıldı". Sabah (in Turkish). 2015-03-26. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  16. ^ "Büyük Sinagog'da 46 yıl sonra ilk ibadet". CNN Türk (in Turkish). 2015-03-26. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  17. ^ Özmen, Engin (2015-03-25). "Edirne'de Büyük Sinagog açılışa hazır". Hürriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 2015-03-27. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gökbilgin, M. Tayyib (1991). "Edirne". Encyclopaedia of Islam, Volume 2 (2nd ed.). Leiden: Brill. pp. 683–686. ISBN 90-04-07026-5. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°40′N 26°34′E / 41.667°N 26.567°E / 41.667; 26.567