Kırklareli - more than just transit from Edirne to Istanbul

Kırklareli - more than just transit from Edirne to Istanbul

On the Turkish part of the Balkan peninsula, the province of Kırklareli stretches from the Black Sea to the main connecting road Istanbul - Edirne, which is one of the four provinces of the European part of Turkey.

As is often the case, the capital of the province bears the same name. This means that Kırklareli belongs to the geographically and historically historic East Thrace, modern to the Turkish region of Marmara.

Joint excavations by the German Archaeological Institute in coordination with the Archaeological Institute of the University of Istanbul have been taking place in the province of Kırklareli since 1993, as traces of settlements from prehistoric times had also been found here. The special focus here is on the excavations of two prehistoric settlements, which in the settlement of Tell Aşağı Pınar can be dated to the Neolithic period between 5900 and 5000 BC, while the second settlement Kanlıgeçit can be counted to the Bronze Age around 3000 BC. Some Iron Age burial mounds are also known in the region. Findings from the excavations, which have been going on for almost three decades now, can be seen in the Kirklareli City Historical Museum.

Burgas becomes a big refugee city

kirkclisia denkmal 3From the records of the Byzantines we now know that during the Middle Ages there were constant disputes between Byzantium and Bulgaria regarding the affiliation of the region. One of the battles that ended in a devastating defeat for Byzantium was the battle of the Bulgarian Tsar Simeon I in 896 at Bulgarophyon, modern-day Babaeski.

The conflicts continued in modern times, but now between the Turks/Ottomans and the Bulgarians. In 1903, when the so-called Ilinden-Preobaschen uprising, which had been proclaimed by the Adrianople Revolutionary Committees, the Bulgarian Macedonians revolted. The insurgents had set themselves the goal of liberating as large a Bulgarian area as possible from Turkish/Ottoman rule and then later uniting it with the Principality of Bulgaria. This was to be done in coordination with the great powers of the time.

kırklareli denkmal 1The Turkish government opposed the uprising by sending an army of more than 350,000 soldiers, including artillery and cavalry, so that the insurgents, with only 26,000 fighters, were outnumbered and their catastrophic armament. As a result, this battle led to the flight of more than 70,000 Thracian Bulgarians, mostly to neighboring countries. Bulgaria is the first country of refuge, but Burgas became the largest refugee city.

Even after the uprising, many Bulgarians remained in the Kirklareli region until the Second Balkan War in 1913. There was also a large proportion of Greek settlers in the region until the beginning of the 20th century. In the so-called population exchange of the 1920s, however, they were also expelled. Until the Greek expulsion in 1924, the region of Kırkkilise was called "Forty Churches", only after that it became Kırklareli (Country of the Forties).

Builder Mimar Sinan builds mosques

kırklareli denkmal 2Today about 333,500 inhabitants live in the province of Kırklareli on an area of ​​6,299.78 square kilometers, which results in the low population density of only 50 inhabitants/km2. This area is also divided into two sections by the Yildiz Mountains (also called Istranca or Strandscha). The coastal area on the Black Sea coast is now well developed for tourism and can boast a large number of beaches and the corresponding infrastructure. Kirklareli's coast is famous for its fish restaurants. Probably the most famous seaside resort in the province of Kırklareli lies about 98 kilometers east of the town of Kırklareli between sandy beaches and the Yildiz Mountains: İğneada. Besides İğneada, there is another well-known resort in Kıyıköy.

Special attractions in the province of Kırklareli are the Sokollu Mosque in Lüleburgaz and the Ali Paşa Mosque in Babaeski. Both mosques were built by the Turkish architect and master builder Sinan. Since the Edirne - Istanbul route is usually used when traveling from Europe to Turkey, a short stop in Lüleburgaz is obligatory. However, the oldest mosque in the province is in the provincial capital itself, the Hızır Bey Mosque, built in 1388. A bathhouse was also built right next to the Hızır Bey Mosque. To commemorate the 40 Janissaries who fell in conquering the area under Sultan Murat I, an 18-column monument was erected on Hızır Bey Hill. The stalactite cave, which is now well developed, is also worth mentioning.

Coordinates Kırklareli: 42° N, 27° E

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