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Edirne (ancient Hadrianopolis) is a city in Thrace, the westernmost part of Turkeymarker, close to the borders with Greecemarker and Bulgariamarker. Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1457, when Constantinoplemarker (Istanbulmarker) became the empire's new capital. At present, Edirne is the capital of the Edirne Provincemarker in Turkish Thrace. The city's estimated population in 2002 was 128,400, up from 119,298 in 2000. It has consulates of Bulgaria, Germanymarker (Honorary), Greece, Romaniamarker (Honorary) and Slovakiamarker (Honorary). Its sister cities are Haskovomarker and Yambolmarker in Bulgariamarker and Alexandroupolimarker in Greecemarker.


The city was founded as Hadrianopolis (Ἁδριανούπολις), named for the Roman Emperor Hadrian. This name is still used in the Modern Greek (Αδριανούπολη). The English name Adrianople, by which the city was known until the Turkish Postal Service Law of 1930, has fallen into disuse. The Turkish Edirne, the Bulgarian Одрин (Odrin), and the Serbian Једрене (Jedrene) are adapted forms of the name Hadrianopolis.


The area around Edirne has been the site of no fewer than 16 major battles or sieges, from the days of the ancient Greeks. Military historian John Keegan identifies it as "the most contested spot on the globe" and attributes this to its geographical location.

Kasr-ı Adalet (Tower of Justice)

According to Greek mythology, Orestes, son of king Agamemnon, built this city as Orestias, at the confluence of the Tonsusmarker (Toundja) and the Ardiscusmarker (Arda) with the Hebrusmarker (Maritza). The city was (re)founded eponymously by the Roman Emperor Hadrian on the site of a previous Thracian settlement known as Uskadama, Uskudama or Uskodama. Hadrian developed it, adorned it with monuments, changed its name to Hadrianopolis, and made it the capital of the Roman province of Haemimont, or Thrace. Licinius was defeated there by Constantine I in 323, and Valens was killed by the Goths in 378 during the Battle of Adrianoplemarker. In 813 the city was seized by Khan Krum of Bulgaria who moved its inhabitants to the Bulgarian lands towards the north of the Danube.

During the existence of the Latin Empire of Constantinople, the Crusaders were decisively defeated by the Bulgarianmarker Emperor Kaloyan in the battle of Adrianople . Later Theodore Komnenos, Despot of Epirus, took possession of it in 1227, and three years later was defeated at Klokotnitsa by Asen, Emperor of the Bulgarians.

Following its capture by the Ottoman Sultan Murad I in 1365, Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1453; until the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (Istanbulmarker) which became the empire's new capital.

Under Ottoman rule Adrianople was the principal city of a vilayet (province) of the same name, both of which were later renamed as Edirne. Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinoplemarker, was born in Adrianople.

Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í 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 Akkamarker. He referred to Edirne in his writings as the "Land of Mystery" [31054].

Edirne was a sanjak centre during the Ottoman period and was bound to, successively, the Rumeli Eyalet and Silistre Eyalet before becoming a province centre at the beginning of the 19th century. Edirne Province comprised the sanjaks of Edirne, Tekfurdağımarker, Gelibolumarker, Filibemarker and İslimyemarker before 1878.

The subdivisions of the Edirne Province before 1878 were:

  • Sanjak of Gelibolu: Kazas of Gelibolu, Gümülcinemarker, Şarköymarker, Enezmarker, Evreşe and Keşanmarker. Gümülcine was a kaza of the Filibe sanjak at the beginning of the 19th century.

The subdivisions of the Edirne Province between 1878-1912 were:

  • Sanjak of Gelibolu: Kazas of Gelibolu, Eceovasımarker (its center was Maydos and renamed as Eceabat in 1923), Mürefte, Şarköymarker and Keşanmarker.

Edirne 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 greatly in 1905 from a conflagration. In 1905 it had about 80,000 inhabitants, of whom 30,000 were Muslims (Turks and some Albanians, Roma and Circassians); 22,000 Greeks; 10,000 Bulgarians; 4,000 Armenians; 12,000 Jews; and 2,000 more citizens of non-classifiable ethnic/religious backgrounds. Edirne was a vital fortress defending Ottoman Constantinoplemarker and Eastern Thrace during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13. It was briefly occupied by the Bulgarians in 1913, following the Battle of Odrin; and by the Greeks between the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920 and the end of the Turkish War of Independence in 1922.

According to the 2007 census, Edirne Provincemarker had a population of 382,222 inhabitants. The city is a thriving center of commerce for woven textiles, silks, carpets and agricultural products.

Ecclesiastical history

Adrianople was made the see of a Greek metropolitan and of a Gregorian 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 of 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 Karaağaçmarker 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 Tekirdağmarker and Alexandroupolimarker, had a school (Minor Conventuals), and there was one at Gallipoli (the Assumptionists).

Around 1850, from the standpoint of the Oriental Catholics, Adrianople was the residence of a Bulgarian vicar-apostolic for the 4,600 Uniats 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 Uniate Bulgarians, the above statistics included the Greek Catholic missions of Malgara and Daoudili, 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.


Every year in June there is an oil-wrestling festival called Kırkpınar, said to be the oldest active sport organization after the Olympic Games (which were refounded after centuries of inactivity).


High Schools

  • 80th Year of Republic Anatolian High School (80. Yıl Cumhuriyet Anadolu Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne High School (Anatolian High School) (Edirne Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne Yildirim Anatolian High School (Edirne Anadolu Lisesi - Yıldırım Anadolu Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne Anatolian Teacher Training High School (Edirne Anadolu Öğretmen Lisesi in Turkish)
  • Edirne Suleyman Demirel Science & Maths High School (Edirne Fen Lisesi in Turkish)


Image:Selimiye_Mosque camii.JPGImage:Edirne_mosque_outside.jpgImage:Salimiye's beauty and grandeur.jpgImage:Stained glass in Selimiye Mosque.jpgImage:Edirne_7325_Nevit.JPGImage:Edirne_tower.jpgImage:IMG_1100.JPGImage:Edirne_7341_Nevit.JPGImage:Edirne_7342_Nevit.JPGImage:Edirne_sultan%27s_bridge.jpgImage:Edirne_Graveyard_7345_Nevit.JPGFile:Sts._Constantine_and_Helen_Church_(Edirne),_Front.jpg

See also


  1. Organizational structure and subdivisions of the Edirne Province in 1876
  2. Thrace from the Congress Of Berlin till the Balkan Wars (1878-1912)

External links

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