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x0x A bit of Heaven on Earth Edirne

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  • TRH
    [See more at: http://www.enversengul.com/galeriler_edirne01.htm http://www.pas.rochester.edu/~yildirim/images/Turkey/edirne.htm
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 13, 2005
      [See more at:


      For recipes from Edirne: http://www.edirne.bel.tr/TURKINGKATALOG/YMBROSURING.htm ]

      x0x A bit of Heaven on Earth Edirne


      The `former capital' and a favorite `second home' for
      Ottoman statesmen and intellectuals, Edirne was
      remembered in the same breath as Istanbul up to the
      start of the 20th century. As capital of the Ottoman
      state from 1361 to the conquest of Istanbul in 1453,
      the city's rivers carried sultans in their imperial
      caiques, and poets penned their most beautiful lines
      here. Perhaps the caiques no longer ply the rivers, and
      the famed rose gardens are gone now, but Edirne
      continues to charm writers and poets with her awesome
      historical monuments and natural beauty. With her
      mosques, too numerous for even Evliya Çelebi to count,
      her fountains, bridges, caravanserais, churches,
      pavilions, towers, baths, covered bazaars and old
      houses, Edirne today is a virtual open-air museum. The
      most famous monument in this museum is without doubt
      the Selimiye Mosque, built by the architect Sinan.
      Rising from the city center, it inspires visitors with
      awe as much for its sheer splendor as for its
      architecture. East or West, from whichever direction
      you approach the city, Selimiye's minarets will greet
      you from afar. The closer you get, the more astonished
      you will be, and when you step inside, you will be


      If you ask a native which is famous, he won't hesitate:
      "Selimiye for its architecture, the Old Mosque for its
      calligraphic inscriptions, the Three-balconied Mosque
      for its portal." The Eski Camii or Old Mosque, which
      continues the architectural tradition of the Anatolian
      mosques, was built by Sultan Mehmed I in 1414. The
      interior of its dome is adorned with decorations added
      in the 18th century and its piers are covered with
      inscriptions in the celi sülüs and talik scripts. The
      Uç Serefeli or Three-balconied Mosque, famed for its
      portal, also represents a new departure in Turkish
      architecture for its dome and overall design. The first
      mosque to have four minarets--spiraled,
      diamond-patterned, ribbed and zigzagged--it stands out
      architecturally as well as aesthetically. The Muradiye
      Mosque, built by the same sultan, exhibits the 15th
      century Ottoman art of decoration with especially
      magnificent examples of the art of the tile.


      Just outside the city, the Complex of Bayezid II (1484)
      on the banks of the Tunca is important equally for its
      architecture, mosque decorations and hospital. At a
      time when the mentally ill were ostracized in many
      societies, patients were treated here with music and
      the sound of water. A museum of health today, it was
      chosen "best museum" of 2003 by the Council of Europe.


      The city of Edirne divides into two parts, old and new.
      The old city is a typical Ottoman town inside the city
      walls, the new city the residential area extending from
      the former bus terminal to the Trakya University
      Medical School. In the earliest times, the city's
      non-Muslim population lived within the walls while
      Muslims lived around Selimiye Mosque. Later on, as
      followers of the two, even three, religions mixed, the
      boundaries in their minds were erased as well, and
      everyone began living in harmony inside the city walls.
      The oft-depicted historical houses with gardens have
      been restored by Thrace Province and the Thracian
      Journalists' Association and preserve their place today
      in the city's silhouette. In the old days the Ottoman
      Empire was ruled from Edirne. For a long time the heart
      of the Ottoman administration beat in the Old and New
      Palaces. Not a trace remains today of the Old Palace
      where Mehmed the Conqueror was born.

      But you can still see a few structures and heaps of
      rubble remaining from the palace he had built on the
      banks of the Tunca when he became sultan. And on the
      400-year-old Field of Kirkpinar alongside the former
      palace, traditional greased wrestling contests are held
      annually in early July.


      Bridges have an important place in the silhouette of
      Edirne, which is intersected by three rivers, the
      Meriç, the Tunca and the Arda.

      Reflections falling on the former two awaken wonder and
      pleasure even from kilometers away, and the willow
      branches brushing the water immediately call to mind
      poet Niyazi Akincioglu's lines: "Somewhere you will see
      them / Flowing languorous and slow / Kissing the willow
      branches / Three streams / Three plaits of sable /
      Miracle of miracles / You're in Edirne!"

      The suburb of Karaagaç is an extension of Edirne with a
      distinct air of its own. To reach it you must cross the
      two historic bridges over the Tunca and the Meriç. It
      is especially pleasant to stroll down the wide avenue,
      paved with cobblestones and lined with tall trees--and
      once rumored to have been known as the `road to the
      capital' bridge. From here you can continue on to the
      Karaagaç Railway Station. An important stop on the
      Rumeli Railroad, it has been restored and serves now as
      the Trakya University administration building. The way
      is short, but there's no harm in taking a refreshing
      break for a cup of Turkish coffee at one of the small
      roadside cafes.


      We could go on about Edirne forever, but we cannot stop
      without mentioning her cuisine. You'll find tarhana
      soup all over Turkey, but the one made in Edirne tastes
      completely different. Ditto for the cheeses. Made from
      sheep and cow's milk, they are one of the city's
      leading commodities. After a hearty breakfast of soup
      and cheese, a lunch of Edirne's unique meatballs with a
      side dish of sheep's milk yoghurt is highly
      recommended. And what about the pastries? There's no
      end to them rolled pastries filled with cracked wheat,
      flat stuffed pastries, Turkish-style ravioli and

      Helva, sweets and pickles of every variety have a
      special place on Edirne's tables. Not to mention the
      city's traditional sweets like twice-roasted Turkish
      Delight and `deva-i misk' helva. This helva, whose
      closely-guarded secret is known to only a handful of
      master chefs, is also recognized as a cure for many
      ills. Not only do Edirne's natives know how to preserve
      their traditional sweets, they have preserved their
      traditional handicrafts as well. At the Arasta Çarsisi,
      a covered bazaar like a tunnel back in time, you will
      find the mirror-encrusted brooms and other items
      decorated with fine `edirnekari' work that every young
      girl must have in her trousseau.
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