Once the capital of close to 100 years of the Ottoman Empire ruled over three continents, Turkey’s gateway to Europe Edirne, both with the city’s culture and is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the country with architecture. Selimiye Mosque, as historical monuments and Turkey’s bird known as a haven Gala Lake as locations for the hosts Edirne, makes the world’s longest stone bridge, also known as Uzunköprü to the host. Edirne, which is on the coast of Saros Bay, which is also described as one of the world’s cleanest water resources, is also among the most popular holiday resorts of recent times. It is possible to list the prominent information about Edirne, which is visited by both local and foreign tourists every year, under the following headings :
The Importance of Edirne in Turkish History and Its Capital Period
The Ottoman Empire’s growth rates increased when they stepped into the Thracian lands while still in the principality stage. When Bursa was the capital, all the artistic and cultural activities of the empire were also shaped around Bursa – Bilecik. The city, which was called Hadrianapolis until 1361 and was conquered by Murat I after 1361 and called Edirne, became a center of attraction. The city, which was known as the capital of the State of Aliyye after Murat I moved his central palace to Edirne in the history of the conquest, remained the empire’s capital until the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. Edirne, which served as the Ottoman Empire’s capital for 88 years in total, experienced one of the brightest periods of its history in terms of economy, culture, and art during this time.
Historical Symbol : Selimiye Mosque
Selimiye Mosque, one of the first historical works that come to mind when Edirne is mentioned, is defined as the masterpiece of Mimar Sinan, known as the greatest architect of the Ottoman Empire and its period. Suleiman the Magnificent’s son II. The construction of the Selimiye Mosque, built by Selim, started in 1568, and II only did the building. It was completed in 1575 after Selim’s death. Selimiye Mosque, one of the most magnificent structures in Ottoman history and architectural history, is known as an engineering wonder. According to the rumors, Mimar Sinan made this work when he was 90 years old. Included in the UNESCO temporary world heritage list in 2000, Selimiye Mosque was registered as “World Heritage” by UNESCO in 2011.
Stone Bridges and Architectural Texture Connecting Civilizations
Bridges have been referred to throughout history as structures that connect civilizations and cultures. Serving as a bridge between Anatolia and Europe in the Ottoman Empire, Edirne stands out with its beautiful stone bridges. The most famous bridges of Edirne, including masterpieces such as Uzunkopru, the longest stone bridge in the world, can be listed in the following list :
Meric ( Mecidiye ) Bridge
It is an architectural structure built by Sultan Abdulmecit on the Meric River in 1847, also known as the Mecidiye Bridge. Meric Bridge, one of Edirne’s most famous bridges, is one of the longest stone bridges in the region with a length of 263 meters. The bridge is also located at the intersection of Tunca and Meric River connected with the Tunca Bridge. Meric Bridge, which offers a unique visuality, mostly due to its lighting at night, is among Edirne’s must-see places.
Uzunkopru ( Uzunköprü ) or Ergene Bridge
Known as the longest stone bridge globally, Uzunkopru is shown as an architectural masterpiece between the Ottoman bridges with a length of 1270 meters and 174 arches. At this point, Uzunkopru, which includes the most aesthetic motifs of Turkish culture from Central Asia to Anatolia and then to the Balkans, reveals a thoughtful and artistic existence.
Bulgarian Church of Sweti George
The Sweti George Temple, popularly known as the Bulgarian Church, stands out as one of the architectural structures that best represent Edirne’s cosmopolitan structure. In the city, which had many non-Muslims throughout the Ottoman Empire, the Bulgarian population was also dense due to the proximity to Bulgaria. The central importance of the church is that the Muslim administrators built it in the region. They were not tolerating the rights and freedoms of non-Muslims living in the area, II. Abdulhamit Han orders that a church be built in the region for them to live intolerance. Rauf Pasha, who was the ruler of the region, obeyed the order and completed the construction of Sweti George Bulgarian Church in 1880, one of the best examples of Ottoman tolerance.
Grand Synagogue of Edirne
As we mentioned above, one of the most beautiful features of Edirne is that the city has a tolerant population. In this context, apart from temples such as mosques or churches in the city, common sense was also dominant for the needs of Jews, who were a very minority population at that time. In this context, the historical Synagogue, which dates back to the 1400s, is known as worship for Jews who had to escape from religious pressures in Europe in the 1492s.
Turkey’s most significant European stance as three exhibits a quite magnificent architectural structures referred to as the largest Synagogue. So much so that many foreign tourists visiting the city are interested in Edirne Great Synagogue after Selimiye and the city’s bridges. Damaged in the great fire that broke out in the early 1900s, II built the building. It was rebuilt at the request of Abdülhamit in a way not to break its old lines. The Synagogue was open to worship until 1983, but the temple, which was transferred to the General Directorate of Foundations after the Jewish population in the region left the city, was reopened in 2015. Edirne Great Synagogue continues to host its visitors today as one of the must-see places in Edirne.
Edirne Old Mosque
The historical mosque, which was started to be built by Yıldırım Beyazıd Han’s son in 1403, was completed in 1414. Old Mosque is an essential building in terms of the architectural texture of Edirne. The multi-domed temple architecture is considered one of the most important representatives in Turkey. Edirne Old Mosque, which reflects the period’s historical consistency in the best way, is regarded as a place that visitors who want to experience a heavenly and spiritual ambiance should see. Traces reflecting all the power and glory of the period can easily be found in the building, which hosted many scholars during the Ottoman Empire period.
3 Serefeli Mosque
3 Serefeli Mosque, located in Edirne’s central location, is a building believed to be completed in the 1400s, although there is no clear information about its construction date. It is thought to have been built by Müslihiddin Aga, who is also known as Mimar Sinan’s teacher and is a very famous architect in his field. The building, which carries all the traces of the Ottoman temple architecture, also includes details that force the standard architectural patterns of the traditional trend. The mosque with three balconies has a large fountain courtyard that has not been observed in any Ottoman mosque until that day. This distinguishes it from other temples in Thrace and Anatolia in terms of the exterior architecture. 3 Serefeli Mosque, a structure that attracts great attention in tourism, is another crucial point that Edirne should visit.
Caravanserais are generally thought to be in the endless corners of Anatolia. It is true that many caravanserais are located in the Eastern Anatolian Region due to its proximity to secluded trade routes in the East. However, the fact that Edirne served as the capital of the Ottoman Empire for about 100 years and the Empire’s gate to Europe enabled Edirne to develop as an essential location on trade routes. Built-in the 1550s by Rustem Pasha, the son-in-law of the Magnificent Sultan Suleyman, the caravanserai is now used as a hotel and stands as an important center for the social life of the city.
Sultan II. Bayezid Complex and Hospital
Sultan II. Beyazıd Complex and Hospital stand out as structures that reflect Edirne’s social and economic life in the Ottoman period in the best way. The building was used as a darüşşifa in Edirne II. Beyazid built it in 1488. Covering a vast area in square meters, the Kulliye and Hospital; It also served as a bazaar with many social facilities, hospitals, and pharmacy hospitals.
Macedonia Tower is a structure that dates back to Antiquity and bears traces from the Roman Empire and has survived many restoration processes. Macedonian Tower, which was used for various purposes from the Ottoman period, started to be known as the “Clock Tower” after the wooden clock extensions made by Hacı İzzet Pasha, one of the famous Governors of Edirne. Afterward, when different archaeological remains were found around the Tower, which survived various fires and disasters, the area is now used as an “Urban Archeology Park.” In this context, Macedonia Tower continues to host its visitors to attract tourists, especially those interested in archeology and ancient artifacts.