The city of Tekirdag in Eastern Thrace is located on the Balkan Peninsula. It has a population of just over 200,000. The city was originally called Bisanthe or Bysanthe. After the 18th century it was called Tekfurdağı, based on the Turkish word tekfur, meaning “Byzantine Lord”. This city has a long history which dates back to ancient times when the ancient Greeks and Samians settled here and made use of the harbour area as trading port.

The city has several places of historical interest. The Rakocyz Museum is a Turkish house built by Hungarian folk hero Prince Ferenc Rakoczy II who escaped from Hungary to live in Turkey in 1720 and who lived in the city until his death in 1735. The Rakoczi fountain which has Turkish and Ottoman inscriptions was built by Rakoczi and nestles between trees which are reputed to have been planed by Rakoczi himself. The fountain can be found in the industrial area of the city. The Trakya Museum and Archeology and Etnography Museum are definitely worth visiting and provide an in depth insight into the history of the region and the city.

There is also a statue on the famous poet Namik Kemal who was born in Tekirdag and which is situated in the Barıs ve Ozgurluk Parki. A statue of Francis II Rakoczi can also be found in the park which is located near to the otogar or bus station and the marina area.

The Ottoman building complex of Rüstempaşa Külliyesi built by Mimar Sinan for Rustem Pasa and the old mosques belonging to the Ottoman period are mostly located in the centre of the city. Rustum Pasha was the son-in-law of the Sultan Suleiman, the Magnificent. This mosque was built in the Ertugrul neighbourhood of the city by order of Rustum Pasha. The courtyard has a marble fountain with a roof coated in lead. This is another mosque located in the Ertugrul neighbourhood. This is thee Old Mosque which was built in 1830 by Ahmet Aga, a local minister. Whilst you are here you can visit the Ertugrul Neighbourhood Bazaar with its herbalist shops.

There are some beautiful 18th and 19th century houses in Tekirdag comprising of wooden buildings and some stone and brick architecture in the traditional style. Sadly, many are neglected but you can see them on the hill by the otogar overlooking the sea. There are more examples to be found along the streets between the Archaeology and Ethnography Museum and the Rakoczi Museum. As with most cities, Tekirdag is best explored in a leisurely manner as a pedestrian. Only in this way can you get the best impression of the city and its history.

The city is home to a large commercial port on the Sea of Marmara and the region is famous for its sunflowers. If you travel in this region during the month of July you will see field after field of yellow sunflowers in full bloom. It is such a spectacular sight. Grapes and wheat are also grown in this region. The city of Tekirdag is also famous for its meatballs and Raki, the Turkish national alcoholic drink. Don’t forget to order the Hayrabolu desert after your meal.

Tekirdag is a well laid out city and has a developed industrial base as well as being an agricultural centre for produce which is shipped from the harbour. Just outside of Tekirdag along the coast roads there are numerous holiday villas owned mostly be residents from Istanbul who spend time here during the summer months. Istanbul is just a 2 hour drive from Tekirdag. The bay of Tekirdag is protected by the mountain from which it gets its name, Tekir Dağı (ancient Combos).

Tekirdag and the surrounding districts have several festavals and there is a keen insterest in traditional music and dance. The watermelon festival is organized in Marmara Ereglisi every August and there is also a Cherry Festiaval in June and a Grape Harvest and Ecology Festiaval in September. The summer Festival takes place during July and August.

Places to Stay

Öğretmen Evi,İskele Caddesi 16, 59100 Süleymanpaşa, Tel: 0282 261 08 35

Uygulama Otel, Onursal Sokak 1, 59100 Süleymanpaşa, Tel: 0282 260 42 31

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