Emblem of Edirne Metropolitan Municipality
Location in Turkey
Location in Turkey's Marmara Region
Location in the Mediterranean Basin
|• Mayor||Recep Gürkan (CHP)|
|• Governor||Dursun Ali Şahin|
|• Province||6,098 km2 (2,354 sq mi)|
|• City||844 km2 (326 sq mi)|
|Elevation||42 m (138 ft)|
|• Density||196.7/km2 (509/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (TRT)|
|Area code(s)||(+90) 284|
Edirne (US: / -/,, Turkish: [eˈdiɾne]), historically known as Adrianople (//; Latin: Hadrianopolis; founded by the Roman emperor Hadrian on the site of a previous Thracian settlement named Uskudama) is a city in Turkey, in the northwestern province of Edirne and East Thrace, close to Turkey's borders with Greece and Bulgaria (3.24 miles or 5.22 kilometers from the Greek border at the closest point). Edirne was the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1369 to 1453, before Constantinople became the empire's capital. The estimated population in 2019 was 185,408.
See also: Names of Edirne in different languages
The city was founded as Hadrianopolis (Ἁδριανούπολις in Greek), named after the Roman emperor Hadrian. This name is still used in the modern Greek language (Αδριανούπολη, Adrianoúpoli). The Ottoman name Edrine (أدرنة) derives from the Greek name. The name Adrianople was used in English until the Turkish adoption of the Latin alphabet in 1928, upon which Edirne became the internationally recognized name. Bulgarian: Одрин, romanized: Odrin (pronounced [ˈɔdrin]), Romanian and Aromanian: Odrina, Albanian: Edrenë, Slovene: Odrin and Serbian: Једрене, romanized: Jedrene, are all adapted forms of the name Hadrianopolis.
The area around Edirne has been the site of numerous major battles and sieges, from the days of the Roman Empire. The vagaries of the border region between Asia and Europe gives rise to Edirne's historic claim to be the most frequently contested spot on the globe.
The city was refounded by the Roman Emperor Hadrian on the site of a previous Thracian settlement known as Uskadama, Uskudama, Uskodama or Uscudama. Hadrian developed it, adorned it with monuments, and changed its name to Hadrianopolis (which would later be pronounced Adrianopolis, Anglicised as Adrianople). Licinius was defeated there by Constantine I in 324, and Emperor Valens was killed by the Goths there during the Battle of Adrianople in 378.
In 813, the city was temporarily seized by Khan Krum of Bulgaria who moved its inhabitants to the Bulgarian lands north of the Danube.
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). In 1206 Adrianople and its territory was given to the Byzantine aristocrat Theodore Branas as a hereditary fief by the Latin regime. Theodore Komnenos, Despot of Epirus, took possession of it in 1227, but three years later was defeated at Klokotnitsa by Emperor Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria.
In 1362, the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Murad I invaded Thrace. Murad captured Adrianople, probably in 1369 (the date is disputed). The city became "Edirne" in Turkish, reflecting the Turkish pronunciation. Murad moved the Ottoman capital to Adrianople. Mehmed the Conqueror (Sultan Mehmed II) was born in Adrianople, where he fell under the influence of some Hurufis dismissed by Taşköprüzade in the Şakaiki Numaniye as "Certain accursed ones of no significance", who were burnt as heretics by Mahmud Pasha.
The city remained the Ottoman capital for 84 years until 1453, when Mehmed II took Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) and moved the capital there.
Edirne is famed for its many mosques, domes, minarets, and palaces from the Ottoman period.
Under Ottoman rule, Adrianople was the principal city of the administrative unit, the eponymous Eyalet of Adrianople, and after land reforms in 1867, the Vilayet of Adrianople.
Sultan Mehmed IV left the palace in Constantinople and died in Adrianople in 1693.
During his exile in the Ottoman Empire, the Swedish king Charles XII stayed in the city during most of 1713.
Baháʼu'lláh, the founder of the Baháʼí 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 Adrianople in his writings as the "Land of Mystery".
Adrianople 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 Adrianople comprised the sanjaks of Edirne, Tekfurdağı, Gelibolu, Filibe, and İslimye.
Adrianople 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 unclassified ethnic/religious backgrounds.
Adrianople 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–attempted to coerce the Ottoman Empire into ceding Adrianople to Bulgaria during the temporary winter truce of the First Balkan War. The belief that that government was willing to give up the city created a political scandal in the Ottoman government in Constantinople (as Adrianople 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 under Enver Pasha was unable to stop the Bulgarians from capturing the city after the fighting resumed in the Spring. Despite relentless pressure from the Great powers (Russia, Britain, France) the Ottoman empire never officially ceded the city to Bulgaria. Edirne was swiftly reconquered by the Ottoman empire during the Second Balkan War under the leadership of Enver Pasha (who would proclaim himself the "second conqueror of Adrianople", after Murad I) following the total collapse of the Bulgarian military might in the region.
The entire Armenian population of the city was deported during the Armenian genocide on 27–28 October 1915 and 17–18 February 1916, ending up in Syria and Mesopotamia. Their property and businesses were sold at low prices to Turkish Muslims.
It was ceded to Greece by the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920, but recaptured and annexed by Turkey after the decisive Greek defeat at the end of the Greco-Turkish War, also known as the Western Front of the larger Turkish War of Independence, in 1922. During the Greek administration, Edirne (officially known as Adrianople) was the capital of the Adrianople Prefecture.
Adrianople became known in Western languages as "Edirne" circa 1930. From 1934 onwards Edirne was the seat of the Second Inspectorate General, in which an Inspector General governed the provinces Edirne, Çanakkale, Tekirdaĝ and Kırklareli. The Inspectorate Generals governmental posts were abandoned in 1948, but the legal framework of them was only abolished in 1952, under the government of the Democrat Party.
According to the 2007 census, Edirne Province had a population of 382,222 inhabitants. The city is a commercial centre for woven textiles, silks, carpets and agricultural products.
Adrianople was made the seat of a Greek metropolitan and of an 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 Eastern Catholic Churches, Adrianople was the residence of a Bulgarian vicar-apostolic for the 4,600 Eastern Catholics 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 Eastern Catholic 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.
In 2018, archaeologists discovered remains of a Byzantine church. The church was built around 500 AD and it was an early Byzantine period building.
Edirne has a borderline humid subtropical (Cfa) and hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa) in the Köppen climate classification, and a temperate oceanic climate (Do) in the Trewartha climate classification. Edirne has hot, moderately dry summers and chilly, wet and often snowy winters.
|Climate data for Edirne (1991–2020, extremes 1930–2020)|
|Record high °C (°F)||20.5
|Average high °C (°F)||7.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||2.8
|Average low °C (°F)||−0.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−19.5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||65.8
|Average precipitation days||10.50||9.57||11.57||11.23||11.70||9.90||6.47||4.57||6.40||8.90||10.00||11.47||112.3|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||68.2||98.9||130.2||171.0||229.4||255.0||288.3||279.0||198.0||136.4||87.0||58.9||2,000.3|
|Mean daily sunshine hours||2.2||3.5||4.2||5.7||7.4||8.5||9.3||9.0||6.6||4.4||2.9||1.9||5.5|
|Source: Turkish State Meteorological Service|
Situated 7 km (4.3 mi) from the Greek and 20 km (12 mi) from the Bulgarian borders, 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 former Byzantine Orthodox Cathedral (now mosque, museum from 1935-2020) 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. Other notable mosques are Eski Cami (Old Mosque), and Burmalı Cami (Serpent Mosque), aka Üç Şerefeli Mosque.
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.
Another notable building in the area is the Complex of Sultan Bayezid II, 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 featuring an Ottoman soldier in front of its entrance.
The historic Grand Synagogue of Edirne, abandoned and ruined, was restored and re-opened in March 2015. 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 Tundzha, 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. Next to it, the Treaty of Lausanne Monument and Museum are situated.
The traditional oil-wrestling tournament called Kırkpınar, is held every year in late June or early July. Kakava, an international festival celebrating the Roma people is held on 5 May each year.
A cultural partnership with Lörrach, Germany began in 2006. The goal is to exchange pupils and students to improve their cultural skills and understanding.
Edirne is well known for local dishes. "Ciğer tava" (breaded and deep-fried liver) is often served with a side of cacık, a cool dish of diluted strained yogurt with chopped cucumber. Also, locally-made marzipan, which has a different recipe from standard marzipan, is one of Edirne's traditional desserts.
Handmade brooms with a mirror in them are one of the cultural images of the city and a central marriage tradition. Miniature versions are still sold in gift shops.
Edirne's economy largely depends on agriculture. 73% of the working population work in agriculture, fishing, forests and hunting. The lowlands are productive. Corn, sugarbeets and sunflowers are the leading crops. Melons, watermelons, rice, tomatoes, eggplants and viniculture are important.
The through highway that connects Europe to Istanbul, Anatolia and the Middle East passes through Edirne.
Historic buildings and events have elevated tourism's role in the economy.
Industry is developing. Agriculture-based industries (agro-industries) are especially important for the city's economy.