Nestled in the Northwest corner of Turkey, also known as the happiness city and renowned for its annual oil wresting contest in summer, famed for its many mosques, this town could almost be over looked. It Is located just 7km from the Greek border and close to the Bulgarian border. It oozes with history and is fast becoming a rich culinary and heritage spot.

Stepping out of my hotel I was surprised at how close everything was to me, I was surrounded by history and beauty. For a moment I was over whelmed and didn’t know where to begin. But of course it was just common sense to begin at the most remarkable monument in the city and work my way from there, so I set of to Selimiye Mosque and the bazaar that surrounds it. These are my recommendations for a visit to Edirne.

Selimiye Mosque built in the 16th century by Mimar Sinan
This Ottoman Imperial Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Selim 11 and was built by the imperial architect Mimar Sinan between 1568 and 1575. It is considered to be his finest piece of work, and is the most important and most famous historical monument in Edirne. The Mosque has 999 windows in total, according to the architect Sinan, this number symbolises the perfectness of God.The upside down tulips, which are a symbol of Edirne have their origin in a tulip illustration engraved on a marble in the fountain right under the central dome of Selimiye. They are believed to symbolise the landlord of the tulip garden on which the mosque was built. The views from the garden at sunset are beautiful. I found the panoramic view of the city dotted with minarets breath taking

Magnificent arched bridges on the Tunca and Meric Rivers
The Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling and cultural festival takes place on the banks of these rivers between the last days of June and first days of July. It is one of Turkeys most important sporting events and one of the oldest annual sport contests in the world, UNESCO recognised it back in 1346 when the Ottomans were raiding forts. Summer is best to visit and enjoy the parties and festivities.

Saraclar Caddesi
Its vibrant both day and night. There is always soft music playing and the road is filled with sculptures, fountains, bright lights and lots of people. Its electric, definitely the place to be early evening when you want to sit down and recollect the days events.

Alipasa Carsisi 1565 – Grand Bazaar
Conveniently found along the main pedestrian Saraclar Street, this is one of the three covered bazaars found in Edirne. It was erected by Mimar Sinan and is named after the Grand Vizier Hersekzade Semiz Ali Pasha, unfortunately he died four years before it was erected. The building is 270 metres long and sells all sorts of things including souvenirs from Edirne such as fruit—shaped soap, Edirne soap is not used to wash with but rather for decoration and to add sweet aroma to interiors. Other souvenirs include small brooms with a mirror which are known to bring good luck, the broom represents purity and the mirror beauty.

Cultural houses
There are many old houses to been seen in Edirne. The oldest quarter is Kaleici because it stood within the city walls, it has the character of a typical Ottoman city. Wondering the streets even close to Selimiye Mosque you will find some old wooden houses known as Edirnekari ( ottoman Victorian )

Stay at Tashan Hotel
It is a 500 year old historical building which was designed by Mimar Sinan, and lovingly restored in line with its cultural heritage. The rooms are authentic but come with modern amenities. Decorated in Ottoman style my room had the perfect view looking out onto the Uc Serenely Mosque next to the Sokullu Hammam. There was a quaint garden that offered a buffet breakfast.

Drink coffee at Shot stop
I am a coffee addict so I am always looking for a coffee on the go spot , In Edirne, this was it. On the corner of the main shopping district is was perfectly located, quirky and it tasted great. Such a small space were every inch was utilised, they also had my favourite , salep a Turkish must have.

Makedonya Kulesi
This tower from the Roman Empire remains from the 4th century in the middle of town. It is now home to the pigeons. There are some remains of the city walls , some Byzantine pottery ovens , and the remains of an old Byzantine church

Edirne is the perfect day trip from Istanbul, approximately 2h 30 minutes by bus. It is a real gem , there is so much to do here that don’t be fooled into thinking that you will just pop in for a day. Wondering the streets you will quickly realise that time passes by faster than you expected. Edirne is known for liver, calf’s liver to be precise, which is thinly sliced and deep fried and served with fried red chillies and washed with ayran. Locally the dish is known as ciger tava, the best place to find it is around the old town. I loved the feel of this city, its relaxed and filled with impressive sights and architectural masterpieces.