km (146 miles) west of Istanbul on the borders with Greece and Bulgaria (map), is
a pleasant, historic city seldom
visited by tourists even
though it's an easy day-trip west
guess it's just in the wrong direction:
from Istanbul, most of Turkey is
east and south, so no one thinks
of going west.
pop. 130,000; formerly Adrianople)
has wonderful mosques because it
was the second capital of
Empire (after Bursa,
the morning seeing the fine mosques
in representing the great ages of Ottoman
architecture: the Eski (1418), Muradiye (1436), Üçşerefeli (1447), Beyazıt
II (1488) and the elegant Selimiye (1575).
It also boasts the Great Synagogue, dedicated in 1909 in the city's Jewish quarter as the largest Jewish house of worship in the Balkans. Abandoned in 1983 for lack of worshippers, it was derelict until the 2010s when the Turkish government invested US$2.2 million in its restoration. It reopened for worship on March 26, 2015. (Here's more on Jewish life and culture in Turkey.)
through Edirne's old Roman district
admiring the picturesque wooden Edirnekâri ("Ottoman
down to the Meriç (Maritza) River to
see the graceful Ottoman stone
Have tea or
a meal in a shady riverside restaurant.
the bazaar and covered markets,
then hop one of the very frequent buses back to Istanbul,
and you'll have enjoyed one of your
most pleasant days in Turkey, with
few other tourists around.
If you visit in June or July, check on the dates for the annual Kırkpınar Oiled Wrestling Tournament, a quintessential Edirne sporting event. More...
office (turizm bürosu) is
Meydanı, the main square,
near the town's main intersection
Talat Paşa Caddesi and Saraçlar/Hükümet
a morning bus from Istanbul's Büyük
Otogar (bus terminal) on the
westward along the Otoyol (expressway)
to Edirne. Buses depart for Edirne
about every 15 or 20 minutes all
day, from breakfast to dinner time.
—by Tom Brosnahan
Distances & Travel
km (143), 4 hours
km (137 miles) S, 3.5 hours
km (146 miles), 2-1/2 hours