Edirne, the westernmost city in Eastern Thrace, happens to be the second capital of the Ottoman Empire. As such, there are some historical sights to visit. A daily trip to Edirne from İstanbul is a stretch, but we take our chances. Once we are outside of İstanbul, there is no traffic on the highway. The sight is quite pleasant, with green plains lying on both sides. After a 2.5 hour drive, just when we are wondering where the entrance to the city center is, we find Edirne right in front of us.
|Selimiye from distance|
There is a graveyard next to the mosque, where we find interesting headstones. These graves belong to high profile people from the old days. The various shapes and sizes of the tombstones relate to their social status and occupation. The informational text given on the wall contains a poem from Yunus:
|Yunus der ki gör takdirin işleri
Dökülmüşler kirpikleri kaşları
Başları ucunda hece taşları
Ne söylerler ne bir haber verirler
|Yunus says: "All this is done by Fate alone."
From their eyes, all their brows and lashes are gone;
To mark their place there is only a headstone.
They never speak nor send any news at all.
|The interior of Selimiye's big dome|
|The interior of the Old Mosque|
After lunch it continues to rain lightly. We buy umbrellas just in case it starts to rain more heavily. Our next two stops are the two imperial mosques that are very close by. The first one is called the 'Old Mosque'. Strange name for a mosque. As the name suggests, it is old, and follows the older Seljuk architecture. There are equal sized domes, nine of them, in a 3x3 grid. Jokingly, I call it the 'Silo Mosque', as it looks like a series of silos. It lacks a courtyard. While it does not look too impressive from the outside, it is beautiful inside, with giant calligraphy decorating its walls and nice ornaments under its 9 domes.
|The courtyard of the Üç Şerefeli Mosque|
We decide to walk to the old palace after learning that it is half an hour away. After a 15 minute walk, we reach the outskirts of the city. There is no one around. There seems to be a restoration project on a historical walking bridge that goes over a stream of water. We take the bridge. There are green plains on both sides, with some orderly trees. We see some ruins on the right-hand side, which appears to be the site of the old palace. On the left-hand side there is another imperial mosque, which turns out to be the Beyazıd II Mosque. We decide to go and see the palace, or what remains of it, first.
|The remains of the Edirne Palace|
|Tower at the Edirne Palace entrance|
We leave the palace area and walk towards the Beyazıd II Mosque. It has a distinguishing white color. Not too impressive in terms of its size, especially when compared to the other imperial mosques in the city. But it has a large complex outside. It turns out that this complex houses one of the first medical schools and hospitals of the Ottoman era. After taking a quick tour of the mosque proper, we visit the museum.
|Beyazıd II Mosque|
|A horse carriage in Karaağaç|