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|• Mayor||Ulaş Yurdakul ([ (Turkey))|
|• Kaymakam||Salih Yüce|
|• District||1,178.18 km2 (454.90 sq mi)|
|• District density||46/km2 (120/sq mi)|
Malkara (Greek: Μάλγαρα, Malgara) is a town and district of Tekirdağ Province in the Marmara region of Turkey. It is located at 55 km west of Tekirdağ and 190 km from Istanbul. It covers an area of 1,225 km², which makes the district the largest in Tekirdağ. Population of the town is 25,000 with another 36,000 residing in surrounding villages. The mayor is Ulaş Yurdakul (CHP).
Thrace was the scene of fighting during the Persian Wars and the name Malkara is said to come from the Persian 'Margaar' meaning 'cave of snakes'. Alternatively the town may be named after 'Malgar' a general in the army of Alexander the Great who built a fortress here after they had succeeded in bringing to an end the Persian 30-year occupation of Thrace. These fortifications remained in use up until the Byzantine period.
Once the area had been brought under Ottoman control it was settled with Turks from Anatolia and a Turkish town emerged which thrived supplying the Ottoman cavalry regiments. Malkara was then used as a place of exile for those out of favor in the Ottoman court including:
- Hacı Evhat - personal tutor to Suleiman the Magnificent, who exiled Evhat in 1524 when he did not like the lessons.
- Leading statesman Koca Sinan Pasha exiled for four years here after the failure of his campaign against Iran in 1580.
- Melek Ahmet Pasha - vizier to Murat IV in the 17th century.
- Boynu Eğri Mehmet Pasha - The 'Bent-neck Mehmet' who was appointed general (Pasha) after murdering the poet Sair Nefi, who himself had fallen out of favor with Sultan Murat IV for writing the satirical poems called hiciv or yergi. Mehmet quickly rose through the court hierarchy but was ultimately a failure.
The 17th-century Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi described Malkara as a tidy hard-working town of 150 houses of tiled roofs noted for production of honey, cheese and leather.
Malkara was occupied by Russian troops in the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829, again by the Russians in The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 and most painfully by the Bulgarians for 8½ months during the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913. More than 500 residents were killed in combined attacks by Bulgarian troops and local Greek residents.
During the Second World War the Greek part of Thrace was occupied by German and Bulgarian troops, and as Turkey made preparations for possible entry to the war against Germany, refugees from Greece were sheltered in Malkara and some of the local people sheltered for their safety in Anatolia.
Malkara is a small market town serving the countryside around it, which is mostly devoted to growing sunflowers for seeds and oil. There are also one or two coal mines. Many of the people of Malkara originate in the Balkans and are liberal- and secular-minded.
Places of interest
The village of Yenidibek with its reservoir and ruined Byzantine castle is a popular picnic spot.
- "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
- "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.