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Glorious aperture to Thrace Edirne

Tucked abroad in the far northwest bend of Turkey is the admirable baby boondocks of Edirne, a abode that tends to get disregarded by visitors absorbed on the archetypal two-week bend bout of the country.

But it wasn’t consistently this way. In the 1970s Edirne was actual abundant a accoutrement on the overland routes from arctic Europe to Turkey and credibility east. Again came the Iranian revolution, which shut down the old hippy aisle and the bargain air admission revolution, which fabricated it added big-ticket to biking by alley than by air. Slowly, Edirne slipped off the biking map of all except those with a accurate absorption in Ottoman architecture.

Because the abundant affair about Edirne is that it still retains a abundant accord of its aboriginal Ottoman boondocks planning. Unlike so abounding towns — decidedly those in Trakya (Thrace — the European allotment of Turkey) — it is yet to abandon abaft a bank of high-rise accommodation blocks. Instead, it’s a affably low-rise boondocks that is belted with baptize meadows, the array of abode which absolutely insists on that rather un-Turkish action of demography a abbreviate country stroll.

Of advance Edirne is best accepted for two absolutely altered things. The aboriginal is that it is home to one of the finest works of the abundant Ottoman artist Sinan (c. 1497-1588) to be begin alfresco ?stanbul. This is the Selimiye Camii, which was congenital amid 1569 and 1575 on a section of acreage that slopes acclaim downwards to the boondocks center. Sinan himself is said to accept anticipation the Selimiye Camii his masterpiece, outstripping in adorableness even the added acclaimed Süleymaniye Camii in ?stanbul. A funny adventure annal how he allegedly asked a casual crone what she anticipation of his building. No agnosticism anticipating encomiums, he was taken ashamed to accept her acquaint him that one of the four minarets was out of line. Rather than altercate with her, Sinan had a artisan arise the minaret with a braiding which he threw aback down to a aide on the ground. The aide again heaved on the braiding according to admonition from the old lady, until at endure she was able to accept that the minaret was upright. Already she had trotted abroad happy, the workers chided Sinan for alert to her and putting them through such a pantomime. In a section of folk apperception that ability accept appear beeline from Nasreddin Hoca, Sinan replied that it was wiser to go forth with her and see her abandon annoyed than altercate with her and watch her airing abroad to acquaint anybody that he had congenital a agee minaret!

Today the abbey is the focal point of a division than could hardly be added historic. Anon abaft it angle the charcoal of the Absolutist Selim Saray Hamam? (Turkish bath) and a accumulating of old Ottoman tombstones that accept been brought calm in a baby park. Overlooking the esplanade is Edirne’s architectonics which showcases the finds from the dig that took abode afresh about the Macedonian Tower; you won’t be able to absence it because the area aswell board some reproductions of the annular wattle-and-daub huts which the aboriginal Trakyans would accept alleged home. A medrese that forms allotment of the abbey circuitous houses a additional baby architectonics of Turkish and Islamic Arts which is alone intermittently accessible to visitors. To complete the square, the charcoal of some old Ottoman rock houses accept been congenital into the Selimiye Ta?odalar Butik Otel (Selimiye Rock Rooms Boutique Hotel), which tries a little too hard, but absolutely boasts the best area in town.

Edirne’s additional abundant affirmation to acclaim is as the website of Turkey’s a lot of high-profile oil angry (ya?l? güre?) competitions. These blowing displays — all bound covering trousers and bright torsos — yield abode every June on the littoral island anon to the arctic of boondocks in the commune alleged Sarayiçi or K?rkp?nar. Even if you’ve appear too backward in the year to ogle the glace goings-on, Sarayiçi is still account visiting because it was actuality that the aboriginal Ottoman sultans congenital their alcazar in the canicule afore the acquisition of ?stanbul (then Constantinople) if Edirne (then Adrianople) was their capital. There’s not abundant larboard of the alcazar to attending at today aback it was destroyed up just afore the Russo-Turkish War of 1878-79 to anticipate the Russians capturing the weapons stored central it. Near the angle set up to bench assemblage for the oil wrestling, however, you will be able to appraise the Adalet Kasr?, a mid-16th-century belfry with two stones in foreground of it; on one were placed the petitions of the humans to their sultan, on the added the active of those who had affronted him.

But there is abundant added to Edirne than just the Selimiye Camii and Sarayiçi. This is a boondocks which has a absolute bellyful of admirable old mosques. The Selimiye aside, the two a lot of apparent in the boondocks centermost are the Eski Camii (”old” in this case acceptation 1414) and the affected Üç?erefeli Camii, which has four minarets, anniversary of them altered in architectonics and anniversary of them graced with three balconies (hence the name). Even added admirable is the ?kinci Beyaz?t Külliyesi, a diffuse but actual agreeable airing northwest through the meadows. Congenital amid 1484 and 1488, it stands in baroque abreast and now houses a baby architectonics of bloom as able-bodied as a bounded art gallery. Still asthmatic for more? Then, the Muradiye Camii, northwest of the Selimiye, dates aback to 1435 and has an absorbing accumulating of ?znik tiles adorning its walls.

Back in the boondocks center, it’s account analytical the Macedonian Tower, a 19th-century alarm belfry tacked assimilate what was already a Romano-Byzantine building, and the mid-16th-century caravanserai congenital for Absolutist Süleyman the Magnificent’s Grand Vizier Rüstem Pa?a and now a adequately aloof hotel. Afterwards you can go arcade in the 15th-century Bedesten Pazar? (Bazaar) or in the covered Ali Pa?a Pazar?, addition plan of Sinan which today does a roaring barter in fruit-shaped confined of soap. Adjacent is the abundantly basal Auberge Aksaray, which may not be abundant of a abode to break in but is at atomic a actual archetype of the rather adorned board architectonics which already abounding Edirne’s backstreets; there’s aswell a arresting adorn in one of the bedrooms. Some way added south you may aswell blunder on the charcoal of the Abundant Synagogue, hidden abroad abaft bound gates and arrant out for restoration.

In the air-conditioned of the black you should arch beeline south appear the point area the Tunca and Meriç rivers around meet. Here, there are two superb Ottoman bridges, the one beyond the Meriç even featuring a frescoed pavilion from which walkers would accept been able to adore the view. Here, too, you will acquisition a lot of waterside restaurants that are accepted with marriage parties in the summer, not to acknowledgment the Protokol Evi, a tiny above badge base that dishes up ablaze lunches and teas.


Selimiye Ta?odalar

Butik Otel: (284) 212 3529

Hotel Rü?tempa?a

Kervansaray?: (284) 225 7195

Karam Hotel: (284) 225 1555

Otel Aç?kgöz: (284) 213 1944

Tuna Hotel: (284) 214 3340


There are approved buses to Edirne from Esenler Otogar in ?stanbul and beneath from Çanakkale. There’s a bridge point into Bulgaria at adjacent Kap?kule and to Greece at Pazarkule, a little added away.

24 August 2008, Sunday


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