SECOND OTTOMAN CAPITAL EDIRNE-SHRINES, GRAVEYARDS AND CEMETERIES
Romans call Adrianople and Ottomans call Edirne is one of the most important cities on the borders of Bulgaria and Greece with unique graveyards and cemeteries with splendid Ottoman shrines, sarcophagus and gravestones. As it was conquered by Ottomans in 1362, it was expanded and adorned with Ottoman monuments and became the second capital of Ottoman empire for 92 years until Istanbul was conquered in 1453. The city's major construction activities began with the conquest and Edirne was rebuilt as a new city with the Turkish-Islamic identity in a short time. Mosques, caravanserails, madrasahs, bath houses, bazaars, big comlexes, palaces, hospitals and stone bridges have been made to adorn the city as the marks of Ottomans. The Ottomans have also made cemeteries and graveyards as well as domed shrines in the centers of the those places where they buried their deads. Depending on the increase of the Turkish population in time, Turkish cemeteries & graveyards have been established inside the city and stonemasons have moved from old capital Bursa to new Edirne. The tombstones, which were written in Arabic without headgears in early period of Edirne, began to be abandoned towards the end of the 15th century A.D. while a new style of Ottoman tombstone art was involved in the middle of the 16th century A.D. In most of the early era tombstones in Edirne, Fatiha, the opening verses of Koran, is not a phrase included and one of the Hadiths of prophet Mohammmed ( peace upon him ) was carved on in the meaning of “Believers do not die, they migrated to see the realm world”. Such tombstones can be seen in the graveyard of Gazi Mihal mosque and in the garden of Turkish-Islamic Arts Museum today. Edirnekari style on tombstones, which is specific for only Edirne city, explains the importance of the city in Ottoman art. Edirnekari style was used not only on tombstones as new one but also it was widely used in wood carving, fountain inscritions, handmade book decorations and interior home design between the end of the 15th and in the middle of 16th centuries A.D. Edirnekari tombstones are classified in two types which have circular and polygonal bodies. Edirnekari tombstones have a big tulip motif in the middle top section and tulip starts from here with extended two arms throughout the body down. The written inscriptions given information to the visitors are carved in between two arms. This is the most typical feature of Edirnekari tombstones which are divided into two parts beginning with “ Fatiha “ on both sides and it ends with the written inscriptions.The first Edirnekari tombstones with tulip and Fatiha began to appeared in the year 1495 on polygonal marble stones. The best examples are in the garden of Turkish-Islamic Arts Museum on display. In addition , Edirne also has hundred of Janissary tombstones in the museums, in the backyards of the mosques and in old cemeteries due to the old capital of the empire. There had been thousands of Janisary troops in Edirne and it has been used as a military base in order to conquer Balkan & European contries by the Ottoman sultans for centuries. When the sultans left from Istanbul with viziers and combat vehicles, they used to stop in Edirne in order to check the complete preparations with Janissary soldiers then they would go to the further away to make war. For this reason, thousands of Janissary troops used to live in army barracks in Edirne. The best Janissary tombstones can be seen both in the backyards of Selimiye Mosque & Gazi Mihal mosques and in the garden of Turkish-Islamic Arts Museum preserved in better conditions. Edirne used to have about 314 mosques, 106 shrines, 25 cemeteries and about 11 thousands Janissary gravestones once upon a time but most of the shrines and gravestones have been damaged during the Russian invasions and aslo it was fired & plundered several times by the Bulgarian forces before the World war I. Today several Ottoman shrines and about 40 different mosques and a few hundred gravestones have been reamined as the cultural heritage monuments from Ottoman empire. Most of the gravestones can be seen in SELIMIYE MOSQUE EXHIBITION SQUARE at the backyard of Selimiye Mosque just in front of the archeological museum, BEYLERBEYI MOSQUE of graveyard approximately representing the last period of Ottoman empire gravestones with signs on, GAZIMIHAL MOSQUE graveyard on the way to University campus with marvellous Janissary bork gravestones, HACILAR EZANI exhibition square with high officals sarcophagus and gravestones, HASAN SEZAI shrine as the most visited holy center of Edirne with Gulşeni sect headgears, KUŞÇU DOĞAN MOSQUE graveyard in the central part of the downtown, MURADIYE MOSQUE cemetery located on one of the hills of the city opposite of Selimiye, TURKISH-ISLAMIC ART MUSEUM square with really unique Janissary officers gravestones with signs in the large courtyard of the museum and UC SEREFELI MOSQUE graveyard having the last term of Ottoman high bureaucrats have been buried with different headgears.