The ancient city of Adrianople (or Hardrianopolis) is today known as Edirne. Edirne is an overlooked city in the European part of Turkey (Thrace) and was the capital of the Ottoman Empire for a long time before Constantinople eventually fell and became their new capital.

Turkey is an extraordinary country that everyone should visit - and if anyone has any questions about visiting Turkey, then the answers are likely to be to one's liking. While most people just think of the most famous attractions in Turkey, the country also boasts many other off-the-beaten-track attractions like the cliff-hanging Sumela Monastery on the Black Sea coast in eastern Turkey that few ever visit.


What To Know about Edirne / Adrianople

Adrianople or Edirne is full of stunning Ottomon buildings including breathtaking bazaars, mosques, museums, the ruins of ancient palaces, older Roman and Byzantine ruins, and the world's largest frying pan (for real).

Edirne is a stone's throw from the border with Greece and Bulgaria (the historical region of Thrace is today divided up between the modern states of Turkey, Greece, and Bulgaria).

  • Location: In Turkish Thrace (European Turkey)
  • Old Name: Adrianople
  • Thrace: Historical Region Divided Between Turkey, Greece, and Bulgaria

Edirne was the capital of the growing Ottoman Empire from 1369 to 1453 - a period of 84 years. As one visits the small city today, one can feel how this was once the capital of a mighty rising empire. It served as the second capital of the Ottoman Empire (the first was Bursa - also not so far away from Istanbul).

  • Ottoman Capital: Between 1369 and 1453 (84 Years)

Edirne is only around 235 km (146 miles) west of Istanbul and one should spend at least one night and two days there. Alternatively, it can be visited on a day trip from Istanbul if one would like a busy day.

The area around Edirne has been the site of some of the largest battles and sieges of the empires of the region (including the Battle of Adrianople in 378 when the Goths destroyed the Roman army and killed the Roman Emperor Valens). Edirne has historically claimed to be the most frequently contested spot in the world.

  • Built: By Roman Emperor Hadrian

It was refounded by the great Roman Emperor Hadrian who was famous for his many construction projects (including the famed Hadrian's Wall in Britain).

Related: This UNESCO-Listed Town In Turkey Is Considered An Open Air Museum

The Remarkable Architecture of Edirne

Visiting Edirne is all about the architecture that represents the great ages of Ottoman architecture. The great mosques are:

  • Eski: (1418)
  • Muradiye: (1436)
  • Üçşerefeli: (1447)
  • Beyazıt II: (1488)
  • Selimiye: (1575)

As with all mosques in Turkey, visitors are welcome to visit admission free. Remember to dress modestly (no shorts for men or women and a headscarf for women). Remove one's shoes and if it's prayer time, then women should be in the designated women's section of the mosque.

Other Ottoman attractions include the graceful old Ottoman stone bridges and browsing through the bazaar and covered markets.

In addition to the mosque, there is also the newly rebuilt Great Synagogue that's also the largest Jewish house of worship in the Balkans. It had been abandoned since 1983 but has since been restored. It is open for worship and visitors are welcome - there is a security checkpoint to get inside.

  • Great Synagogue: Recently Restored And Opened To The Public - The Largest In the Balkans

Don't forget to seek out the old Roman ruins around the place and see the picturesque wooden Edirnekâri (“Ottoman Victorian”) houses of the modern city.

As of April 2022, there are extensive restoration and renovation works going on in Edirne and so some of the popular buildings may not be open to the public (or partially open to the public).

Also, some of the museums have no information in English as few international tourists ever think of coming to see the once magnificent former Ottoman capital.

Related: Istanbul's Grand Bazaar: One Of The World's Oldest & Largest

The Largest Frying Pan In The World

Edirne's most unusual attraction is the world's largest frying pan. It is located on the roadside just out of the city and has been certified by the Guinness World Book of Records as being the world's biggest.

  • Size: 6.72 meters (22 feet 0.5 in) In Diameter

The frying pan is 6.72 m (22 ft 0.5 in) in diameter and was used on 12 May 2018 to cook 600 kg of calf liver was cooked with 2,520 liters of oil. The food was then given to the people who were attending the advent and to two local student dormitories.

Just down this charming country road that the largest frying pan is on, is a quaint village that is full of superb coffee shops and places to relax and take in the ambiance. There is also a historic train station with a historic train on display.

Next: What To Know About Visiting These Twin (Must-See) UNESCO Listed Attractions In Turkey