sights / Historic

Sarayiçi information

Edirne , Turkey
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It was here, in the 15th century, that Sultan Murat II built the Eski Sarayı (Old Palace). Little remains of this grand structure, which was blown up just before the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 to prevent the Russians capturing weapons stored inside. Fortunately, the kitchens where Ottoman palace cuisine was developed have been rebuilt and today an area that was once the sultans' private hunting reserve is home to a modern stadium where the famous Kırkpınar oil-wrestling festival is held.

Near the stadium, which is flanked by bronze sculptures of wrestling başpehlivan (champions), stands the Adalet Kasrı (Justice Hall; 1561), a stone tower with a conical roof that dates from the time of Süleyman the Magnificent. In front of it are two square columns: on the Seng-i Hürmet (Stone of Respect) to the right, people would place petitions to the sultan, while the Seng-i İbret (Stone of Warning) on the left displayed the heads of high-court officers who had managed to anger the sultan.

Behind the Adalet Kasrı is the small Fatih Köprüsü (Conqueror Bridge; 1452). Across it and on the right is a sombre Balkan Wars memorial; straight ahead and to the left are the scattered ruins of the Eski Sarayı.

To get here, walk north along Hükümet Caddesi and cross the Tunca River on Saraçhane Köprüsü (Saddler's Bridge; 1451); or head north on Mimar Sinan Caddesi and Saray Yolu, and cross the river on Kanumi/Saray Köprüsü (Kanumi/Palace Bridge), which was designed by Mimar Sinan in 1560. Alternatively, it's a scenic 1km walk along the road to the north of the river from the Sultan Beyazıt II mosque complex.