Edime, known as the Frontier City, is the second biggest agricultural, commercial and cultural city in Thrace. Because of its geographical position, it has always been an important city. It is on historic roads going to Anatolia from the Balkans via the Straits. Architectural innovations were first introduced with the structures built here and the most beautiful examples of embellishment and calligraphy were created in this city. In addition, the first small-pox vaccination practices recorded in the history of medicine were done in Edirne.
It is assumed that the city was first founded by a Thracian clan. Then, it developed into a military city on the Roman military route which led from Istanbul to Belgrad and it was named Adrianopolis after the Emperor Hadrian. Adrianopolis, which became a megapolis in Byzantine period, was captured by the Ottomans in 1361 and given its present name. In this period, the city experienced the biggest development in its history and became the most important military base and city of commerce, culture and arts in Rumelia. Thus, it was the capital of the Ottomans in Rumelia.
Edirne, which was one of the four biggest cities in the 17th century, lost some of the monuments which it had once because of several natural disasters and invasions. The domination of Ottoman structures in the city can be seen, while the relics from ancient and Byzantine periods can only be observed in the museums and in some ruins. Some of the Ottoman monuments in the city are the Selimiye Mosque, the Ali Pasha Covered Bazaar, the Rustem Pasha Caravansary and a number of fountains and bridges. Besides them, the Ottoman graveyard and the remains of the Castle of Edirne are worth seeing.
Edirne was once famous for sultan’s feasts during the Ottoman Empire. The grease wrestling contests, held on a field near the site of the former Ottoman palace, where the Ottomans led a life of luxury, es -pecially in the 17th century, have been a tradition ever since.