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UZUNKÖPRÜ

The "Long Bridge"                         Population: 41,500

uzunkopru

Old name: Plotinopolis (Greek)

Market day: Thursday

In the very far west of Thracian Turkey, midway between Edirne and Keşan, Uzunköprü (Long Bridge) is named after its most conspicuous feature, a graceful Ottoman bridge on the Ergene river that was built between 1426 and 1443.

The town has a large Roma population whose fine basketwork can sometimes be seen on sale at the local market. 

At certain times of year the journey to Uzunköprü will give you plenty of opportunity to appreciate the never-ending fields of sunflowers (perversely called ayçiçek (moonflowers) in Turkish) that are a feature of southwestern Thrace. At other times the fields are flooded for the cultivation of rice (pirinç).

Around town

The main reason to come to Uzunköprü is to see the bridge from which it took its name although actually that isn't all that easy to do. Traffic still crosses the bridge but you can't really see it from inside the bus. Nor can you really see it very well from the town side of the bridge because one side is blocked by a military base and on the other the path rapidly runs out into fields.

Really you need to get out on the far side of the bridge where there is a small car park. It's just about possible to walk across it on a raised pavement but it's narrow and not particularly safe.

The bridge in numbers

Length: 1,392 metres

Number of arches: 174

At the town end of the bridge stands the  Özgürlük Anıtı (Freedom Monument) dating back to 1908 when it was built to celebrate the restoration of constitutional monarchy. It bears the words Hürriyet (Independence), Adalet (Justice), Müsavet (Equality) and Uhuvvet (Brotherhood) on its sides.

Heading into town you will pass an Ottoman fountain across the road from the early 20th-century provincial library building.

MuradiyeKeep walking straight ahead and you will come to the Muradiye Cami, built in 1443 for Sultan Murad II and restored in 1621 when its dome was replaced with a flat roof. Of a medrese and imaret that once formed a group with the mosque there is no longer any trace. It's worth stepping inside to see the elegant painted wooden ceiling supported on two wooden columns.

Near the mosque is a small square with the pretty little Telli Çesme in the centre. This four-sided fountain carved from  single piece of solid marble dates back to the reign of Sultan Ahmed III and is decorated with carvings of carnations, roses and other flowers.   The fountain was damaged during the period of Greek occupation (1920-22) but has been restored as faithfully as possible.Havsacami1Telli Çeşme

In a side street off the square the old Tekel Building has been slated for restoration and conversion into a Kent Müzesi (City Museum).

The Market

Uzunköprü has a particularly lively market that fills two floors of a hall and flows out into the surrounding streets. After shopping the locals make their way back home on the back of horse carts that are lined up waiting for hire at the edge of the action.

marketThe capacious Park Lokantası facing the market serves up an impressive array of lunch dishes to suit the stomachs of traders and shoppers alike. 

Sleeping

You are unlikely to want to stay here but if you get stuck both these hotels are close to the bridge.

Ergene Oteli Tel: 0284-514 5338

Güneş Otel: Tel: 0284-518 1999

Transport info

Most people visit Uzunköprü on a quick hop south from Edirne (55km). 

For the time being the bus terminal is right beside the bridge and the market. Long may it last.horse

 

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