A BORDER CITY
Edirne, which was invaded for the first time during the war between Ottoman Empire and Russia 1828-29, experienced the toughest times during the second war between Ottoman and Russia in 1877-78 and the Bulgarian invasion in 1912-13. The city was rescued from Greek invasion at the end of the World War I in 1922. It became the border city of Turkish Republic after the treaty of Lausanne.
The evidences of the development of Edirne during the Ottoman reign are the buildings constructed in the period. The castle whose clock tower remained only and which is located in today's Kaleiçi district by the River Tunca was considered as the soul of the city. Edirne is a kind of 'palaces' city. Apart from the Old Palace which was built in the reign of Murat I, it was known that Yıldırım Bayezid had also a palace built.
Edirne is known with its mosques. The first mosque of the city is Halebi Mosque (Çelebi Mosque) which was built upon request of Murad I. A madrasa was built next to this mosque in the reign of Murad II. The only mosque remaining from 14th century is Yıldırım Mosque which was built in 1399. Old Mosques whose construction was started by Emir Süleyman was completed in the reign of Mehmed I and was named as Ulu Mosque. The other important work of arts belong to this century are Muradiye Mosque built in the reign of
A CITY OF UNIVERSITY
Besides its historical sites, Edirne is an important cultural centre and there are a lot of individuals who grew up in this rich education and science centre. Among these individuals, there are a lot of important names such as Kemalpaşazade Şemseddin Ahmed, Ahmet Şemseddin Efendi, Şeyhülislam Mehmed Emin Efendi (chief religious officials in the Ottoman Empire), Şeyh Hasan Sezai-yi Gülşeni
(leader of the Gülþeni dervishes), Celâleddin ve Cemâleddin Çelebi (founders of lodges used by mevlevi dervishes in the reign of Murad II), Hacı İvazpaşazade Atâî (the poet in the reign of Fatih), Hekim Sinanoğlu Atâî (the poet in the reign of Selim II), Sehi (owner of biography collections), Mecdi (interpretor), Kesbi (official author), Oruç Bey (Historian), Abdurrahman Hibri, Çevri İbrahim and Örfi Mahmud Ağa (experts on the history of Edirne).
Between the 14.th and 19.th centuries in Ottoman Empire, there was a decoration technique named as "edirnekâri" or "Edirne işi". This technique which was firstly seen in Edirne was later used in Istanbul, Bursa and in many regions in Anatolia. Edirnekâri was used especially on railings, wardrobe or cupboard doors, drawers, ceilings, candlesticks and other wood materials even on book covers.
The ceilings are the most significant characteristics of Edirne houses and rococo style was used on th them after the 14 century. Botanical patterns were also used on the ceilings. Unfortunately, the unique examples of these edirnekâri ceilings on Edirne Palace, Cihannuma Summer Palace and Kum Summer Palace do not exist today.
The name of Edirne can be identified with the traditional wrestling sport. The places where wrestling sports were performed outside the palaces were the fairs. The most important fair wrestling was Kırkpınar. The wrestling competitions which are still held in Edirne's Sarayiçi district maintain the old tradition. According to the tales, in the reign of Osman Bey, 40 veteran soldiers who went to Rumelia with prince Süleyman Pasha wrestled there and the history began with this event. Normally, while light weight wrestlers perform on the first two days, middleweight and heavyweight wrestlers do so on the last day. Before each bout, the wrestlers pour olive oil over their entire bodies, and the matches take place in an
open, grassy field, with the contestants naked except for trousers made of leather, which extend to just above the knee. The champion is awarded with a golden belt and the one who holds the wrestling championship successively for three years owns the gold belt for his entire life. One of the important characters of the Kýrkpýnar Oil Wrestling tournament is the announcers called 'cazgır' in Turkish. They introduce the wrestlers and pray for them. Announcers (cazgır) are mostly old wrestlers.