Once the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Edirne is full of stunning structures that speak of its rich past as the main seat of a once powerful empire. From mosques to museums, the famed vineyards of Thrace to the city’s famous oil wrestling festival, here are all the sights you have to visit whilst in Edirne.
Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival
Held annually since 1346, wrestlers from all over Turkey train all year to take part in the major Kırkpınar tournament that lasts for three days and declares the başpehlivan (champion) with a golden belt.
Past the historic bridge, this area was once the location of Sultan Murat II’s Old Palace, which was built in the 15th century, Sarayiçi is now the home of the Kırkpınar stadium as well as the rebuilt kitchens where Ottoman palace cuisine began.
Turkey’s historic Thrace area is now home to some of its best boutique vineyards and Arcadia is one of the major standouts, abiding to sustainable viticulture with low intervention.
Edirne’s old city, Kaleiçi is full of beautiful timber houses dating back to the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, some of which have been restored, such as the beautiful Mihram Hanım Konağı.
Museum of Health
Set within the Sultan Beyazıt Mosque, the former Ottoman hospital now features a museum displaying the history of Islamic medicine including the story of innovative treatments via mannequins in traditional Ottoman era doctor’s garb.
Mimar Sinan Statue
The chief architect and civil engineer of the Ottoman Empire, Mimar Sinan built 300 major structures and this statue in Edirne is a homage to a man whose apprentices would later help design the Taj Mahal.
Meydan Mahallesi 22020 Edirne Merkez, Edirne
Selimiye Foundation Museum
Another attraction within the huge Selimiye Mosque complex, this museum has a collection of art and artifacts from mosques in and around Edirne.
An essential visit for wine enthusiasts, Barbare has excellent red wines and its rural atmosphere is a welcome break from city life.
If you had the chance to attend the Kırkpınar Festival, then you should definitely check out this small museum which displays the story of the historic tournament including press clippings and photographs.
Edirne Turkish and Islamic Art Museum
Located within the Selimiye Mosque’s courtyard, this small house displays a beautiful collection of Ottoman era calligraphy, weapons, ceramics, glass, costumes, woodwork, and jewelry.
Edirne Archeology and Ethnography Museum
Behind the Selimiye Mosque you’ll find this museum, exhibition highlights include wooden objects that showcase the Ottoman era Edirnekâri lacquering technique, carpets, textiles, calligraphy, and jewelry.
Also located within the Selimiye Mosque complex, this special cemetery has the graves of many members of the elite Ottoman Janissary.
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