Edirne Palace, which is actually the second palace in Edirne, was built on an area of 3.000.000 m2 on the bank of the Tunca River in the north of the city and its construction started in 1450 at the time of Murad II. The construction of the palace, which had been stopped for a while after the death of the Murad, was completed by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1475. Edirne Palace was continuously repaired and renovated during the reigns of Suleiman the Magnificent, Ahmed I, Mehmet the Hunter, Ahmed II, Ahmed III time and new constructions were added.
After Ahmed III’s visit to Istanbul in 1718, none of the sultans, until Mustafa III in 1768, had come to Edirne, and this gap of half a century marked the beginning of the destruction. The great earthquake in 1752 and the fire in 1776 further advanced the destruction of the palace . A part of the palace was repaired during the reign of Mahmut II in 1827. The Russians who occupied Edirne in 1829 used the palace as a camp and inflicted great damage on the structure. Many buildings were revitalized during “the repair period”, which began with Governor Hurshid Pasha in 1868 and continued until the governorship of Hacı İzzet Pasha in 1873.
In the 1870s, palace cellars began to be used as ammunition storage. During the Ottoman-Russian War of 1877-78 (93 War), upon the approach of the Russians to Edirne, Governor Cemil Pasha and Müshir Ahmet Eyüp Pasha gave orders to blow up the palace to avoid the taking over of the palace.
In the aftermath of the war, with the permission of Governor Rauf Pasha, valuable goods that were preserved were removed from the palace and they were presented to the administrators of foreign countries. Among these, 27 chests and gifts to the British Queen are of great importance.
What is Left of a Gate in Edirne Palace
Today, Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival is held within the area of the palace known as Edirne, Sarayiçi (literally translated as ‘the inner part of the palace’).
Cihannüma (The Eye of the World) Pavilion
The Remainings of Cihannüma Pavilion
Cihannüma Pavilion is the most splendid structure of Edirne Palace. It is a seven-storey building built by Mehmet II, the Conqueror in 1452. When the structure was intact, onn the top floor, there was a pool in an octagonal room. This site, which was the place where the Cem Sultan was born, is among the structures that are as ruined as of today.
Kum Hamam (Sand Pavilion Baths)
The Sand Pavilion
Sand Pavilion Baths within the Edirne Palace complex is the hamam built in the time of Mehmed II, which is a simple bath consisting of three small domes, a cold room, a hot room, a belly stone and another space with a dome called ‘eyvan’. Excavation and cleaning works were carried out in and around the Sand Pavilion Baths in the year 2000.
Justice Pavilion in the Sarayiçi area and it was added to the Edirne Palace at the time of Sultan Suleiman, the Magnificent. It is said that Suleiman’s laws were written here. There are two stones in front of the window of the first floor. From these, the one of the right, “seng-i arz”, is the stone that left their petitions of requests. On the left, the “seng-i ibret”, the heads of those who were sentenced to death by decapitation were exhibited.
Imperial Kitchens (Matbah-I Amire)
Imperial Kitchens of Edirne Palace
In the south of the regimental plaza, the imperial kitchens of Edirne Palace has a rectangular plan. The structure, which was planned to have eight domes on five square piers, consists of three parts. Two of these sections are covered with two domes and the other section with four domes. Each of the three sections has a window to the south-west, opening to the spaces extending along the southern side of the building. There is also a quarry on the eastern wall under two domes in the larger part of the four domes and the eastern wall under two domes in the east.
The northern front of Matbah-i Amire building overlooking Alay Square has disappeared to a great extent. The fountain structure added from the north-west corner of the building develops into the space using the pointed arched window opening above this facade.
The reservoir of Edirne Palace is located to the north of the Cihannüma Pavilion. It is built on a basement and has a rectangular plan. The water coming from the resources were gathered in the reservoir above the building and distributed from there.
Chicken Forest – A Reminiscient from the Sultan’s Gardens
It is known that the Second Palace (Edirne Palace) had very large hunting grounds and forests and a Palace Garden (Hadika-i Hassa). Today, only 58 hectares of the Chicken Forest in Tunca Island remains on this area.
According to a myth, this field was used as a place where thousands of chickens were grown in the past years and the obtained eggs were mixed into the harvest of the year. Later, the meat from the chickens were sent to military units.
Hunting (Bulbul) Pavilion in the Chicken Forest
It was built by Sultan Mehmed IV (Mehmed the Hunter) in 1671 as a part of Edirne Palace and it was restored by the Municipality of Edirne in 2002. The pavilion is also called Bulbul Köşkü.
Before finishing this article, don’t forget to take a look at the other articles about Edirne and the history of Edirne! The list is as follows:
1. Edirne, Turkey: A Comprehensive Guide
2. Selimiye Mosque, Edirne: A UNESCO World Heritage
3. Eski Cami (The Old Mosque), Edirne: Over 600 Years of Ottoman History
4. The Complex of Sultan Bayezid II Health Museum
5. Selimiye Arasta (Covered Bazaar)
Edirne Palace - Sarayiçi Area
Edirne Palace - Sarayiçi Area
Ecotripsos - Travel, countries, cultures...