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Selimiye Mosque, ca.1579.
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Selimiye Mosque, ca.1579.

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Centre of Edirne.
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Centre of Edirne. Photo: ale3andro.

Town hall of Edirne.
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Centre of Edirne. Photo: ale3andro.

City in the European part of Turkey with about 120,000 inhabitants (2004 estimate). The city is located at the junction between the rivers Tunca and Maritsa (Turkish: Meriç), and is only 7 km from the border to Greece, and 18 km from the border to Bulgaria. It is the capital of Edirne province with 400,000 inhabitants (2004 estimate).
Despite its position in the extreme west in Turkey, Edirne is still one of the best preserved Ottoman cities. There are several beautiful mosques in Edirne, of which the Mosque of Selim, built between 1569 and 1575, is the most famous (picture). Another great mosque is the one of Bayezid 2, built in 1488.
Edirne is a marketplace for fruit, wine grapes and other agricultural produce. Found among its produce are white cheese (peynir), silk, cotton, linen, woollen goods, leather articles and tapestries, as well as roses, opium, wax and a dye called Turkey-red.

Before 0 CE: The town is inhabited by Thracian tribes, and is called Uskudama.
Around 350 BCE: Comes under the Macedonians, and is named Oresteia.
Around 125 CE: Rebuilt by the Roman emperor Hadrian to become the centre of Roman Thrace, and is renamed Hadrianopolis. This later changed to Adrianople.
378: Battle of Adrianople, where the Goths dealt the Romans a crushing defeat.
586: Besieged by the Avars.
10th century: Captured by the Bulgars.
1361: Captured by the Ottoman sultan Murad 1, and it effectively becomes the capital of the empire, even if the sultan doesn't move here. The Ottomans rename it Edirne, its present name, and would over years use it as their main base for expansions into Europe.
1413: The sultan moves to Edirne, and the city becomes the real capital of the Ottoman Empire.
1458: The sultan moves his court from Edirne.
1828- 29: Edirne is occupied for a short time by the Russians.
1877- 78: For the second time, Russia occupies Edirne. This time too, it only lasts for a short period.
1913: Edrine is captured by Bulgaria during the First Balkan War. The Bulgarians stay here for a 4 month long spree of atrocities, but the city returns to Ottoman control later the same year.
1920: Captured by the Greeks.
1922: Edirne is returned to the new republic of Turkey, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
1923: Turkish sovereignty is confirmed by the Treaty of Lausanne.

By Tore Kjeilen