Located at the junction of the borders of Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria, the bright and distinctive Edirne is a popular destination for travelers who want to take a break from the bustling Istanbul and find out how the Turkish outback is doing. True, to call it a 150 thousandth city would be great craftiness. Especially when you consider that in the Middle Ages it was the capital of the Ottoman Empire, and later – its most important economic and military-political center. Edirne almost always had a border status, so many times fell into historical vicissitudes, repeatedly dramatically changed its ethnic composition. All these events, as if layered on top of each other, left behind a rich architectural heritage, some of which are even included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Edirne has an excellent selection of hotels located both in the city and in the surrounding area. But most accommodation options are located in the city center. It is best to settle in the area of the Old Mosque (Eski Kamiyi), the Selemiye Mosque and the Ali Pasha Bazaar – all the sights will be nearby.
A standard room in a five-star hotel with a spa complex is offered for 343 TRY with breakfast per day. A night in a 4 * hotel will cost 220-247 TRY, and in 3 * – 240 TRY. In the city there are enough small “starless”, but very decent hotels – on average, living in them costs 130-200 TRY. There are a couple of hostels in Edirne, the bed will cost 89 TRY per day. Apartments are rent for 170-240 TRY.
What to bring
Edirne is known for its fruit soap. Moreover, it is not used for its intended purpose (although it is also suitable for washing), but as a decoration and air freshener – it fills the room with a pleasant unobtrusive aroma for several months. Also, as a souvenir you can bring “badem emezsi” – almond paste. Another unusual gift is a broom. The city has a rich tradition of their manufacture, decorated with brooms even give presents to newlyweds.
All hotels can be bought in shops on the pedestrian street Sharachlash next to the Selemiye Mosque.
Cuisine and restaurants
Edirne’s culinary pride is “chiyash”. Roll the veal liver in flour, fry in a cauldron full of vegetable oil, until golden brown and served with very hot dried pepper and ayran. The dish has such an attractive smell that it conquers even those who are cool about the liver. “Chiyash” is served both in restaurants (for 15 TRY), and in small eateries “chiyashchi” – as fast food (9 TRY).
Another dish that can be found in many establishments of Edirne – “pilich”, fried chicken. This food, like Chiyash, is universal – it is offered both in cafes and in eateries. On average, dinner in a good restaurant will cost 40-45 TRY per person without alcohol, in a small family bistro you can eat for 10-15 TRY.
Most of the most interesting places in the city are concentrated in its central part. True, the northwestern quarters are considered central. The main symbol of the city is the Selemiye Mosque (Mimar Sinan St.). The temple is built on top of a hill, so it seems even bigger than it actually is. The work of the famous Ottoman architect of the 16th century Mimar Sinan in 2011 was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. By the way, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul is almost an exact copy of Selemiye. For several centuries, the giant dome with a diameter of 31 m was considered the largest in the world, and minarets 71 m high were second only to the Delhi Koutub Minar (72 m).
The mosque has 999 windows, which, according to the plan of Sinan, symbolized the perfection of Allah. The dome and walls inside are decorated with calligraphy and geometric details in pink and blue colors. There is a small museum in the courtyard, admission is free.
In the vicinity of Selmiye is the Uch Sherefeli Mosque (Sabuni quarter). This temple is notable for the fact that each of its 4 minarets has a unique appearance. One of them has balconies – the name of the mosque translates as “Three balconies”. The interior is a real celebration of color. All domes, central and small, are painted differently. Another temple worth visiting is the Old Mosque, located across from Selemey. She is the smallest, but also the oldest of the three central mosques. The temple is famous for its decoration with numerous calligraphic inscriptions.
Edirne used to be part of ancient Thrace, so a huge number of valuable artifacts of that era were found in its vicinity. Almost all of them are exhibited at the local Archaeological Museum (Kadyrpasha Sokak, 7). Its main treasures are the prehistoric dolmen and the reconstructed Thracian hut in the courtyard.