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.
It is difficult to list the “must see” attractions of a city like Edirne, so we will just give you some hints of the places worth seeing and the rest will be up to you.
Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex
Constructed by the architect Mimar Sinan between 1569 and 1575, the Selimiye Mosque and its complex (Selimiye Cami ve Külliyesi) are listed in 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 over the city with its magnificient 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.
Eski Mosque (Eski Cami) is the first original monumental building in Edirne that survived until today. The construction of this classical example of the multi-domed mosques started in 1403 and was completed in 1414.
Edirne Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum
The first museum in Edirne was opened with the name Archaeology Museum (Arkeoloji ve Etnografi Müzesi) in 1925 upon the order of Atatürk. The building was a part of Selimiye Mosque located in the courtyard of Selimiye Mosque and it is the work of Mimar Sinan. And the modern museum consisting of Archaeology and Ethnography sections is opened in 1971. Archaeology section is organised as fossils, coins, stone works, metal works, bone works and terracotta artifacts. Cavalry steles depicting the Thracian cavalry are exhibited in the showcase belonging to Thracian cult objects the grave gifts obtained in the Hacılar Dolmen, Arpalık Dolmen and Taşlıca Bayır Tumulus excavations are exhibited in the showcases called with their names. One of the most interesting parts of the museum is the showcase, which contains female busts made of terra cotta, and it’s interesting in terms of showing the hair styles of women from the Archaic Period until today. And in the ethnography section; silver objects, Şarköy kilims belonging to the 19th century, various embroidered clothes and jewelry, examples of traditional handicraft “Edirnekari” can be seen.
It is also named as “Kavaflar Bazaar” as it is written by Evliya Çelebi. It is the right address for those who want to shop in an atmosphere where time stands still.
It was built in 1418 as a lead-covered 14-domed structure with an ornamented wall covered with two-colour cut stones. Evliya Çelebi writes that the diamonds and jewellery in the bazaar were worth a few Egyptian treasures and that sixty night guards guarded them. Besides its attractive history and, nowadays it is a nice place to go for shopping.
It is built in 1561 by Mimar Sinan and is one of the most magnificent caravanserais of classical Ottoman architecture. There are 21 shops on the façade of the building consisting of two-storey rooms arranged around a rectangular open courtyard. On the second floor of the Büyük Han section, where the large courtyard is located, a typical Turkish bath with floor heating was built and covered with tiles suitable for the period.
Bridges of Edirne
It is not surprising that bridges come to mind when talking about Edirne. Surrounded by the rivers of Arda, Tunca, Meriç and Ergene, the bridges of the city are also the witnesses of great historical heritage. Gazimihal (Hamidiye), Uzunköprü, Saraçhane, II. Bayezit, Fatih (Bönce), Yıldırım, Saray, Yalnızgöz (Tekgöz), Tunca and Meriç (Mecidiye) bridges must be seen during a visit to Edirne.
Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum
In the rooms around the courtyard of the museum located in the Dar-ül Tedris Madrasa of the Selimiye Complex, there are items belonging to the monasteries, wrestlers, weapons, wooden artefacts, Ottoman tiles and ceramics.
Also see in Edirne
- Ali Paşa Bazaar
- Üç Şerefeli Mosque
- Sokollu, Tahtakale, Mezit Bey, Beylerbeyi and Gazi Mihal hamams
- Ahmet Paşa Caravanserai
- The Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival
- Yıldırım Bayezit Mosque
- Muradiye Mosque
- Bayezit Complex
- Sweti Georgi Church
- Konstantin-Helena Church
- Edirne Synagogue
- Italian Catholic Church
- Enez Ancient City