Most people will visit the sites in the compact city center of Edirne and go back to Istanbul. If you have some extra time or are staying overnight, I suggest visiting the Sarayiçi area. It’s within walking distance of the city center.
Wrestlers cover their entire bodies in olive oil and fight on the grass until one is pinned. The overall winner is called the başpehlivan. Statues of legendary wrestlers adorn the exterior of the stadium.
Next to the stadium is the Adalet Kasrı (Justice Tower). It was built in 1561 by Mimar Sinan. It is the only remaining structure of the old Ottoman palace completely intact. This is where the statutory law of the Ottoman Empire was proclaimed. In front are two stones. The first stone was used to assess petitions of subjects of the empire. The second stone was used to display the heads of those the Sultan had sentenced to death. Click here for a virtual tour.
A bit further ahead is Sarayiçi. It was once the location of the imperial palace of the Ottoman Empire. It was originally built in 1365 when Edirne was the capital of the empire. Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the conqueror of Constantinople, was born there. It was later used as an ammunitions depot and blown up during the Russo-Turkish War in 1878. It’s now undergoing excavation and restoration.
Some of the buildings that have been restored are the palace kitchen and a hamam. An interpretive panel shows a map of the site and pictures of the kitchen before restoration. Nearby is the Balkan Savaşı Şehitliği, a monument to soldiers of the Balkan Wars during the Siege of Edirne. It’s actually a mass grave containing several thousand soldiers.
If you decide to head to the II. Beyazıt Külliyesi from Sarayiçi you’ll have about a 15 minute walk. The views of central Edirne along the way will be spectacular.