The city is built inside a bend of the, just before its junction with the , on gently rising ground reaching a height of 75 metres on the hillock on which the great mosque is built, and some 100 metres further to the east. The part of the city built on the lower slopes has often been flooded, sometimes catastrophically. The city consists of two main parts, - , in the western part of the river curve, the district surrounded by the walls, which have now almost completely disappeared, and rebuilt on a geometric pattern after being devastated by fire at the end of the last century, and - to the east. It is the latter which is the centre of the modern city.
The name of the city is given in old Ottoman sources as Edrinus, Edrune, Edrinaboli, Endriye, as well as Edirne or Edrine, the latter form being used in the sent by I to thesultan Uways . Historical documents also use honorific names, such as al- wa 'l-Maymana (Abode of Divinely-Aided Victory and of Felicity), al- (Abode of the Sultanate) etc.
The city is believed to have been first settled by Thracian tribes, from whom it was captured by the Macedonians and named Oresteia (or Orestias). It was rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century and named after him Hadrianopolis, Adrianople. Adrianople witnessed the victory of Constantine over Licinius in 323, the defeat of Valens by the Goths in 378; it was besieged by the Avars in 586, captured by the Bulgars in 914, besieged again by the in 1049 and 1078. At the battle of Adrianople in 1205 the Latin Emperor of Byzantium Baldwin was defeated and captured by the Bulgars who joined with the Greeks in resisting Catholic encroachment. The Byzantine Greeks then held the city against the Bulgarians. Turks from Asia Minor appeared on the scene in 1342-3 when -Bey fought as an ally of Cantacuzenus against John Palaeologus, defended Dimetoka [q.v.] against the “prince” ( ) of Edirne and is said to have killed the latter (see Mükrimin Halil, -i , Istanbul 1929, introduction 43-6). In 754/1353 the Ottoman prince joined the forces of Cantacuzenus in Edirne after defeating an army of Bulgars and Serbians. Three years before the final conquest of Edirne, the Ottoman Bey advised to keep a close eye on the castle of Edirne. The conquest was accomplished under I by , who defeated the of Edirne at -Dere, to the south-east of the city. The latter then fled secretly by boat from his palace on the banks of the and in 763/July 1362 the inhabitants of the town surrendered on condition of being allowed to live there freely. Although I left the administration of Edirne to , preferring for a time to hold his court at Bursa or Dimetoka, the city of Edirne became almost immediately the forward base of | [II:684a] Ottoman expansion in Europe. It was from Edirne, furthermore that set out to besiege Constantinople. After 's later defeat in the battle of Ankara, the elder prince transferred the treasury from Bursa to Edirne where he ascended the throne. He later lost the city to , who also ruled from Edirne and minted money there in his name. After his defeat and death, Sultan I spent most of his eight-year rule in Edirne and died there, being buried like his predecessors in Bursa. It was in Edirne in 825/1422 that the Pretender was executed after his defeat by II. The latter's reign saw an increase in the prosperity of Edirne and its environs and the building of the town of Uzun-Köprü ( -i Ergene).
It was at Edirne that II received foreign ambassadors, it is from there that he directed his conquests, and it was also on the island on thethat the circumcision-feasts of his sons al- and were celebrated with magnificent pomp. His reign witnessed also a mutiny of the Janissaries at Edirne on the pretext of the fire in the city, a mutiny which was pacified by an increase in the soldiers' pay. II died in Edirne and was succeeded by II who, however, did not return to the city until he decided to lay siege to Constantinople. The plans of the siege were worked out in Edirne and the siege guns tested in its environs. After the conquest II again held court in Edirne where he organized in the spring of 861/1457 magnificent circumcision celebrations, lasting two months, for the princes and . I also held court in Edirne, the city being left to the care of princes when the Sultan campaigned. The prosperity of Edirne continued to grow in the 10th/16th century: the Magnificent often stayed there, while the city's greatest mosque was built under his successor. The tranquillity of the city was, however, disturbed by mutinies in 994/1586 and 1003/1595. From the time of I, Edirne became famous for its royal hunting parties, royal celebrations and entertainments in and around the city, attaining particular brilliance under IV ( = the Hunter). Later the life of the city began to be affected by the successive defeats suffered by Ottoman arms. In 1115/1703, at the famous “Edirne incident”, II who held his court in Edirne was deposed in favour of III by malcontents coming from Istanbul. The subsequent decline of the city was hastened by the fire of 1158/1745 in which some 60 quarters were burnt down and by the earthquake of 1164/1751. In 1801 Edirne witnessed a mutiny of Albanian troops against III's reforms. A second “Edirne incident” occurred in 1806 for the same reasons. On the other hands the abolition of the Janissaries occasioned only minor difficulties in Edirne. In the Russian-Ottoman war of 1828-9 Edirne was occupied by the Russians and this occupation deeply affected the local Muslim population. Muslims started emigrating from Edirne, their place being taken by Christians coming in from the surrounding villages. To raise the Muslims' morale II visited Edirne for some ten days, ordered a large bridge to be built on the (this, however, was only completed in 1842 in the reign of al- ) and had commemorative coins struck. More devastations were caused by the Russian occupation of Edirne in 1878-9, and by the hostilities in the Balkan wars and following the First World War.
Of the castle of Edirne, four of | [II:684b] whose towers and nine of whose gates we know by name, only one tower, the(Clock Tower), originally Büyük (the Great Tower), remains in existence, the clock itself being a late 19th century addition. Greek inscriptions in the names of John V and Michael Palaeologus have disappeared.
1. Eski (the Old Palace).
After the conquest of Edirne, I found the 's palace in the castle inadequate, and built a new palace outside the castle, where he moved in 767/1365-6.says that this was near the Sultan mosque in the quarter of Meydan( ) and that it was later used as a barracks for - s. During the Hungarian expeditions of the Magnificent the old palace could accommodate 6,000 pages, while accommodation for 40,000 Janissaries was provided near by. (iii, 456) says that the palace did not have its own gardens, that it was surrounded by high walls, measuring some 5,000 paces in circumference, that it was rectangular in shape and that it had a gate known as - . Although the importance of the old palace diminished after the building of the Sultan mosque, it was still used for the education of - s, the palace organization remaining unchanged from before the conquest of Istanbul. In 1086/1675 Sultan IV allocated the old palace to his daughter who married , hence the later name of Palace of . In the later 19th century a military lycée was built on the site of the old palace.
(the New Imperial Palace), built on an island on theand on adjoining meadows by II in 854/1450, partly with marble brought from some ruins near Salonica. Construction of the palace was continued the following year by II who also had thousands of trees planted on the island, which he joined by a bridge to the main palace buildings to the west. Another bridge, this time between the palace and the main city, was built by the Magnificent, under whose direction important additions were made to the palace. More pavilions were added in subsequent reigns until the palace grew to twice its size under II. At the end of the 11th/17th century it contained 18 pavilions, 8 s, 17 large gates, 14 baths and 5 courts. Some six to ten thousand people lived within the confines of the palace. Dissolution was gradual: there were many attempts at restoration in the 18th century, but in 1827 an official survey said that most buildings were either completely in ruins or half-ruined. Much damage was caused to the palace by the Russian occupation of 1829, Russian troops camping in the palace gardens. More attempts at restoration followed, but the second Russian occupation sounded the death knell of the palace. The Ottomans themselves set fire to ammunition dumps in the palace before evacuating the city, and after returning they quarried the remaining buildings for stone.
The first Friday prayers were said in Edirne in a converted church inside the castle, known afterwards as the, after its first müderris, al- b. , a teacher of the Conqueror, and also as . Ruined in an earthquake in the 18th century and later repaired, it survived until the end of the 19th century. Another church in the castle was converted into a mosque under the name of Kilise , but this was pulled down by II and replaced by one with six | [II:685a] domes which disappeared in the second half of the 18th century. The oldest surviving mosque is that of , built in 801/1399, on the foundations of a church ruined in the Fourth Crusade, so that the is built into a side wall. During their occupation of 1878 the Russians stripped the inside of the mosque of its tiles and of the two linked marble rings which had given the mosque the name of Küpeli (Ear-ring mosque). Another old mosque, the Eski (or Old Mosque par excellence) was started in 804/1402 by (hence the name of given it by I, a name which was later changed into Ulu , or Great Mosque, before the present one of Eski or was finally adopted) and completed in 816/1413 under I (Pl. X). The interior is square, 9 domes being supported by four columns. An inscription on the western gate, gives the name of the architect as al- of . A stone from a corner of the was placed at the time of building in the window to the right of the , and has been venerated ever since. In the 18th century the mosque suffered in a fire and an earthquake and was restored by I. Another mosque, the , was built by II first as a house of dervishes, a smaller - being built next to it when the main building was turned into a mosque. This mosque is distinguished by the excellent tiles which cover the and part of the walls. In the 10th/16th century this mosque, with its almshouse and other adjuncts, was in receipt of very large revenues. Another formerly rich mosque, the al- (which had at the beginning of the 11th/17th century a revenue of over half a million aspers), was originally a medrese, completed in 839/1435. The minaret of this mosque was destroyed in the siege of 1912. Several princes and princesses are buried in a nearby türbe.
- , entrée et cour., (B. Ünsal, Turkish Islamic Architecture, Londres 1959.)
Mosquée deII et hôpital.
., (B. Ünsal, Turkish Islamic Architecture, Londres 1959).
Another building going back to II is the- (Three-Balconied Mosque) started in 841/1437-8 and finished in 851/1447-8 (Pl. X). says that it was built at the cost of 7,000 purses, being the proceeds of the booty captured at the conquest of Izmir. This mosque has also been known as the , Yeni (New Mosque) and -i (Great Mosque). The building is rectangular, a great dome being held up by six columns, there being four medium-sized and four other small domes at the sides of the main one. Four of the columns (at either side of the main gate and the ) are built into the walls. The (sacred enclosure, i.e., court-yard), paved with marble, is regarded as the first of a mosque built by the Ottomans. The cloisters on the four sides of the are made up of 21 domed vaults, supported by 18 columns. The three-balconied minaret is known as the first Ottoman minaret of this kind. There is also one minaret with two balconies and others with one balcony. II first allocated for the upkeep of this mosque the revenues of the silver mines at Karatova in Serbia. Later Rüstem transferred these mines to the Treasury, allowing the mosque to draw money instead from the of II. An important event in the history of the mosque was the public condemnation in it by al- of the followers of , who were believed to enjoy the sympathy of Sultan the Conqueror. II built on the banks of the a mosque, baths, a hospital, a medrese and | [II:685b] an almshouse (Pl. XI). A chronogram on the mosque gate yields the date 893/1488. The building was financed with the booty captured at - .
The mosque is a simple structure, without arches or pillars, the dome being supported by the four walls. Baths ( - ), surmounted by nine domes and consisting of four rooms each, adjoin on either side and lead onto the two slender minarets. The marble minbar of the mosque is particularly elegant. The mosque contains also the first private gallery ( ) built in an Edirne mosque; this is supported by porphyry columns, brought probably from the ruins of some temple. The hospital ( al- ) built to the west of the mosque is a hexagonal building, six further rooms for the isolation and treatment of patients standing in the hospital gardens (where,tells us, the patients were regularly made to listen to music). The medrese stands in front of the hospital, while the almshouse and a bakery lie to the east of the mosque. II had a quay made on the bank of the , in front of the of the mosque, and also widened the course of the river. The most beautiful monuments built in Edirne in the 10th/16th century are the work of the architect . One of these mosques (the , converted by from the of ) is no longer in existence. Three still stand: the , the mosque of , and finally the mosque of Sultan ( ), which is the glory of Edirne and the last royal mosque in the city (Pl. XI). Built between 972/1564-5 and 982/1574-5 according to the chronogram on the gate of the , it cost, tells us, 27,760 purses obtained from the booty captured in Cyprus. The great dome of the mosque, which rests on 8 columns, is 6 cubits ( ) higher than that of Saint Sophia in Istanbul. The 's gallery under the great dome is supported by 12 marble columns, two metres high; under it there is a small fountain. The mosque library is on the right, and the royal gallery on the left. This , which rests on four marble pillars, used to be decorated by tiles, which were taken away by the Russians in 1878. The court-yard is surrounded by cloisters, in which 18 domes are supported by 16 large pillars brought from the - peninsula and from ruins in Syria (according to , also from Athens). Four three-balconied minarets stand at the four corners of the mosque, which have often been repaired. As for the mosque itself, it was repaired after the earthquake of 1752 and also in 1808, 1884 and in recent years. The Sultan mosque forms an architectural whole with the adjacent medrese, al- ( reciters' quarters), school and clock-house. The müderris of the medrese was considered the chief müderris of the city. The medrese was subsequently used as a military detention centre and is now a museum of antiquities, while the al- houses an ethnographic museum. The library was later enriched by many books, but some valuable books were lost during the Bulgarian occupation.
Edirne was an important centre of Islamic learning, which was allowed an independent course, as in Istanbul and Bursa. Apart from those already mentioned, there were important medreses in the court-yard of the- (founded by II) and the Peykler Medresesi, founded in the same place by II. These medreses, built in the classical Ottoman style, are | [II:686a] today ruined, but could still be restored. Many markets were also built in Edirne, largely as a source of revenue for the upkeep of the pious foundations in the city. The first of these is the covered market of I (14 domes, 4 gates), which was a of the Eski . The covered market built by II, known as the Old Market, fell into ruin in the second half of the 11th/17th century. III had a market built by , and known as (73 arches, 124 shops), to provide revenue for the mosque. also built a market with six gates for Semiz . The city contained also a large number of s. Of these built the Large and the Small s of Rüstem and also the - built for Sokollu. Another which is still in existence is that built in the beginning of the 11th/17th century by - . At the beginning of the 10th/16th century there were in all 16 s and markets in Edirne. Later the number increased, French and English merchants also having their places of work. The trades practised in Edirne included dyeing, tanning, soap-making, distillation of attar of roses, carriage-building etc. Edirne was also famous for its own style of book-binding. The city's water supply was ensured by the aqueduct built in 937/1530. There were also some 300 public fountains, most of which have now disappeared. Apart from the palace bridges, there were in Edirne four bridges over the and one over the , the oldest being the bridge of , built in 823/1420.
At first the administration of Edirne was in the hands of a and of a su- (who was probably the same person as the of Janissaries mentioned by Pococke). After the conquest of Istanbul the - was made responsible for the administration. The of Edirne, who had a daily allowance of 300 aspers at the beginning of the 10th/16th century, could expect promotion to Istanbul, and had, according to, 45 deputies ( ). He was appointed and dismissed by the central government. One interesting local official was the Chief Gardener ( - ), responsible for the care of private gardens and orchards on the banks of the three rivers ( gives their number as 450, suggesting that it had been larger before, al- , f. 26). The city of Edirne was a crown domain ( ) of the Sultans, producing a revenue of nearly two million aspers at the beginning of the 10th/16th century. Money was sometimes sent from the Edirne Treasury to help meet the requirements of Istanbul. Edirne used also to be the seat of a Greek Orthodox Metropolitan and of a Chief Rabbi.
With more than 50 s and tekkes, Edirne bred many famous dervish s. Among the most famous were theal- and al- in the reign of II, and Dede (d. 1151/1738), considered the second of the . The beauties of Edirne have been described in many poems, including the of al- and the al- of . A local poet, , wrote a poem ending in the refrain Edrine, and this has often been imitated. Finally, Edirne is graphically described in 's to the Sultan.
(M. Tayyib Gökbilgin)
there is a continuation, called -i belde-i Edirne, byEfendi (1255-1326/1839-1908). Besides the long section in , , iii, there are descriptions by European travellers in the 17th and 18th centuries (John Covel, in Th. Bent, Early voyages and travels in the Levant, London 1893
Antoine Galland, Journal, ed. Ch. Schefer, Paris 1881
E. Chishull, Travels in Turkey, London 1747
Letters of Lady Wortley Montague, letters 25-34). The decay of the city in the beginning of the 19th century is described by George Keppel, Narrative of a journey across the Balcans, London 1831, i, and by Moltke, Briefe über Zustände und Begebenheiten in der Türkei 6, 150 ff.
Nicolas de Nicolay, Navigations ..., gives types of the inhabitants in the 10th/16th century. Views and plans of the mosques and other buildings are given by C. Sayger and A. Desarnod, Album d'un voyage en Turquie en 1829-1830, Paris n.d., fol., Thomas Allom and Robert Walsh, Constantinople , ii, 73, 77, and notably by C. Gurlitt, Die Bauten Adrianopels, in Orientalisches Archiv, i, p. i and ii (cf. G. Jacob in Isl. , iii (1912), 358-68). Works in Turkish include: the of the vilâyet of Edirne
, Edirne , Edirne 1335/1920
M. Tayyib Gökbilgin, XV-XVI Edirne ve , Istanbul 1952
idem, “Edirne” in IA .