I guess it’s just in the wrong direction: from Istanbul, most of Turkey is east and south, so no one thinks of going west.
Spend the morning seeing the fine mosques in representing the great ages of Ottoman architecture: the Eski (1418), Muradiye(1436), Üçşerefeli (1447), Beyazıt II (1488) and the elegant Selimiye (1575).
It also boasts the Great Synagogue, dedicated in 1909 in the city’s Jewish quarter as the largest Jewish house of worship in the Balkans. Abandoned in 1983 for lack of worshippers, it was derelict until the 2010s when the Turkish government invested US$2.2 million in its restoration. It reopened for worship on March 26, 2015. (Here’s more on Jewish life and culture in Turkey.)
Wander through Edirne’s old Roman district admiring the picturesque wooden Edirnekâri (“Ottoman Victorian”) houses.
Browse the bazaar and covered markets, then hop one of the very frequent buses back to Istanbul, and you’ll have enjoyed one of your most pleasant days in Turkey, with few other tourists around.
Edirne’s tourist office (turizm bürosu) is on Hürriyet Meydanı, the main square, near the town’s main intersection of Talat Paşa Caddesi and Saraçlar/Hükümet Caddesi.
Take a morning bus from Istanbul‘s Büyük Otogar (bus terminal)on the 3-1/2-hour run westward along the E-80 Otoyol(expressway) to Edirne. Buses depart for Edirne about every 15 or 20 minutes all day, from breakfast to dinner time.
—by Tom Brosnahan
Distances & Travel Times
Çanakkale: 230 km (143), 4 hours
Gallipoli: 220 km (137 miles) S, 3.5 hours
Istanbul: 235 km (146 miles), 2-1/2 hours
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