Edirne – the old Capital of the Ottoman Empire …
A day-trip to Edirne, in the western part of Turkey, in early June, is the perfect way of getting away from the buzzing city of Istanbul. Edirne is located close to the Greek and Bulgarian border and served from 1365 to 1453 as the capital of the Ottoman Empire, before Constantinople. It is an ideal way of diving into history. The town with its 140,000 inhabitants is not only charming but features some of the most important architectural masterpieces of the Ottoman world.
The most striking of those masterpieces is Mimar Sinan‘s famous Selimiye Mosque. It was built in 1575 and is regarded as Sinan’s masterpiece. He (1490-1588) was the chief architect and engineer of the early Ottoman Empire. The mosque features the highest minarets in Turkey of 70.9m height and its cupola is three to four feet higher than Aya Sophia’s in Istanbul.
Edirne was also home to one of the most advanced medical centres in the world under the Ottoman rule. The Sultan Bayezid II Health Complex has been turned into a museum and bears now witness to the advances the Ottomans had made in science and medicine. The health complex was built in 1488 and was especially notable for its treatment methods for mental illnesses which included the use of music, water sound and scents. The complex was in use for about 400 years.
Passing Sinan’s bridge and charming Ottoman houses, one finds the way to a further magnificent early example of Ottoman architecture – the Üç Serefeli Mosque. It was built between 1438 and 1447 under Sultan Murat II.