Turkey is an exotic, colorful and many – faceted country embracing romance, history, and modern life-style It is the gateway to the fabled east. Turkey is a country located at a point where the three continents of the old world, Asia, Africa and Europe, are closest to each other and Asia and Europe meet. Anatolia has always been important throughout history and is the birth place of many great civilizations. Turkey is not only a passageway from which the ancient Asian Turkish Culture is transmitted to Europe, but also considered a window opening to the Western Culture to meet the Eastern Culture.
Turkey is a major destination for tourists and travelers combining leisure with business attending conferences, trade exhibitions or fairs.
Please check the Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (www.mfa.gov.tr/default.en.mfa) for information on travel and visa requirements for foreigners. Visit the Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Culture and Tourism web site for detail information on culture and tourism in the country (http://www.kultur.gov.tr/?_dil=2).
The Mediterranean and Aegean shores of Turkey experience long, hot summers and mild, rainy winters. Istanbul averages 0°C (32°F) in January and 23°C (73°F) in July. Average annual precipitation totals 697 millimeters (27.4 inches), most of which falls in December and January. Along the central Anatolian plateau, a continental climate prevails, with hot summers and colder winters. The plateau receives only about half as much precipitation, but it is more evenly distributed throughout the year. The eastern highlands experience even longer and colder winters. Along the Black Sea, the climate is mild and rainy. Southeast Anatolia records the country's highest summer temperatures, averaging more than 30°C (86°F) in July and August.
Edirne is a gateway opening Turkey to western world in Trakya. Situated between the Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish borders, this beautiful city is famed for its many mosques, the elegant domes and minarets which dominate the panoramic scene of the city. Edirne was the capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1416 until the conquest of Istanbul by Mehmet II in 1453.
One of the most important monuments in this ancient province is the Selimiye Mosque, built in the 16th century by the Turkey's greatest architect, Mimar Sinan. Carrying the name of the sultan reigning in that era, this mosque magnificently represents Turkish marble handicrafts and architecture, and it is covered with treasured tiles and fine paintings. In June 2011, the Selimiye Mosque Complex has been accepted in to the UNESCO's World Heritage List.
Yildirim Mosque and Eski Mosque, dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries, respectively, are other spectacular sights in Edirne. Muradiye Mosque and the Üç Serefeli Mosque are also among the oldest and most impressive buildings in the city. The Bayezid II Mosque complex, is another great monument used since the Ottoman era.
Bayezid II mosque was built by Ottoman sultan Bayezid in 1484. It is a large complex consisting of a mosque, a medical school, and a hospital (Darussifa) which specialized in treating mental illnesses with the sound music and water, pleasant smells/aroma and relaxing occupations. Today, the complex houses the Health Museum displaying many medical tools and drawings highlighting its history. The complex was converted into a fine museum in 1997 and was awarded the Council of European Museum Prize in 2004.
Besides the fascinating mosques, there are many sites worth visiting in Edirne, all reflecting its rich history. There are attractive palaces, The most prominent palace, Edirne Palace, which was the "Palace of the Empire" built during the reign of sultan Murat II. There are amazing caravansaries, like the Rüstem Pasha and Ekmekcioglu Ahmet Pasha caravansaries, which were designed to host travelers, in the 16th century.
"Bedesten" and "Arasta" are two lively and colorful old bazaars that should be included in every visitors’ sightseeing itinerary. Several bridges which have stood for centuries, adorning the land with their old but beautiful facades.
Edirne is known for its grease-wrestling (yağlı güreş in Turkish) matches. Wrestling is the national sport of Turkey. The competitions have been held in Edirne every year between the end of June and the beginning of July, for more than 400 years on Kirkpinar island, a forested area between the Meriç and Tunca rivers.