Site Search

The Best Top Things to See and Do in Edirne

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 The Best Top Things to See and Do in Edirne.

Things to See and Do in Edirne

Sarayici Square

It was here, in the 15th century, that Sultan Murat II built the Eski Sarayı (Old Palace). Little remains of this grand structure, which was blown up just before the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 to prevent the Russians capturing weapons stored inside. Fortunately, the kitchens where Ottoman palace cuisine was developed have been rebuilt. Today, an area that was once the sultans’ private hunting reserve is home to a modern stadium where the famous Kirkpinar oil-wrestling festival is held.

Selimiye Mosque

Built between 1569 and 1575 by order of Sultan Selim II at the city’s highest point, the mosque features four striking 71m-high minarets and was positioned in the centre of an extensive kulliye (mosque complex) including a medrese (Islamic school of higher studies), darul Hadis (Hadith school) and arasta (arcade of shops). The main entrance is through the western courtyard, home to a lovely marble sadirvan (ablution fountain).


Kaleici means ‘inside the castle’. Dating from the medieval period, this is the heart of the old city and it retains a number of ornately decorated timber houses dating from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as a couple of handsome stone civic buildings.

Sultan Beyazıt II Mosque Complex

Standing in splendid isolation on the banks of the Tunca River, this complex was commissioned by Sultan Beyazit II and built between 1484 and 1488. The mosque’s design lies midway between the Uc Serefeli and Selimiye models: its prayer hall has one large dome, similar to the Selimiye, but it also has a courtyard and fountain like the Uc Serefeli.

Old Mosque

The Old Mosque is an important landmark in the city and has a large and loyal local congregation. Built between 1403 and 1414, it is the oldest of the city’s imperial mosques and features a square, fortress-like form and an arcaded portico topped with a series of small domes. Inside, there are huge calligraphic inscriptions on the walls.

Muradiye Mosque

The Muradiye Mosque, built for Sultan Murat II and topped with an unusual cupola. Note the massive calligraphy on the exterior. Built between 1426 and 1436, it once housed a Mevlevi (whirling dervish) lodge. The mosque’s T-shaped plan, with twin eyvans (vaulted halls) and fine Iznik tiles, is reminiscent of Ottoman work in Bursa.

Uc Serefeli Mosque

Its name refers to the uc serefeli (three balconies) on the tallest minaret; the second tallest has two balconies and the remaining two have one balcony each. The mosque has a wide and beautifully decorated interior dome mounted on a hexagonal drum and supported by two walls and two massive hexagonal pillars.

Museum of Health

The extremely beautiful darussifa (hospital) and tip medresesi (medical school) in the Sultan Beyazıt II mosque complex now house this museum tracing the history of Islamic medicine.Mannequins dressed as Ottoman-era doctors, patients and medical students are used in scenes illustrating various medical procedures, and interpretative panels explain the connection between the hospital’s physical design and treatments.

Edirne Turkish and Islamic Art Museum

The small rooms of the elegant darul Hadis (Hadith school) in the northeastern corner of the Selimiye’s courtyard house an eclectic collection of Ottoman-era artefacts including calligraphy, weaponry, glass, woodwork, ceramics, costumes and jewellery.

Edirne Archaeology & Ethnography Museum

Behind the Selimiye Mosque is this museum with two sections: one archaeological and the other ethnographic. Highlights of the archaeological section include Thracian funerary steles featuring horsemen. The ethnographic section showcases carpets, embroidery, textiles, calligraphy and jewellery.

Selimiye Foundation Museum

Similar to the Edirne Turkish and Islamic Art Museum, this museum is housed in an equally handsome building in the Selimye’s kulliye (mosque complex; this time in a medrese in the southeastern corner of the courtyard) and showcases a collection of art and artefacts drawn from mosques and religious buildings in and around Edirne.

Selimiye Arastasi

Also known as the Kavaflar Arastası (Cobblers’ Arcade), this historic market below the Selimiye Mosque was part of the original külliye (mosque complex). Shops include branches of Arslanzade and Kececizade.

Ali Pasa Covered Bazaar

Mimar Sinan designed this long and highly atmospheric bazaar in 1569. Inside, Turkuaz is one of the best spots in the city to buy meyve sabunu (fruit-shaped soaps).

Delicious Cuisine

Set in the midst of lush agricultural lands, Edirne’s dining scene is based on local meats and produce, and menus of Turkish favorites. The city is famous for Can Ciger, a traditional fried liver dish.

Kirkpinar Evi

A dusty shrine to the sport of oil wrestling, the museum in this 19th-century timber house features press clippings, photographs and a few naff mannequins dressed as wrestlers (ie, not wearing much at all). If it’s not open, ask one of the waiters at the tea garden in the front garden.
Don`t copy text!