It is known that Odrysians, who were the most ancient inhabitants of Edirne and descendants of Thracians, had founded a city where Maritza and Thundza Rivers merge, in the location of the city of Edirne today. In the period of Macedonian rule after the Odrysians, the town was referred to as Orestia/Orestas, probably as the end result of the change of Odrys or Odrysia. In 2nd century A.D., the Roman Emperor Hadrianus (117-138) gave city status to Orestia on account of the strategic importance of the town and named the city after himself. Thus, the city was referred to as Hadrianopolis/Hadrianupolis/Adrianupolis/Adrianapolis during the Roman period. Adrianopolis changed over time as Adrianople/Adrianopel. The city was called Edrinus/Edrune/Edrinabolu/Endriye at the beginning of the Ottoman period. The name of the city in the History of Aşıkpaşazade, written in 1476, is called Edrene. It is seen that the city was named Edirne in the beginning of XVI. century.
Edirne was conquered by I. Murat in 1361 and became the capital of the Ottoman Empire for 88 years (1365-1453) until the conquest of Istanbul. The city deserved various titles throughout its history. Edirne was "Der-i Saadet" (Gate of Happiness), a "City of Festivals" in the period of happiness. From Murad II. to the reign of Mehmet IV., victory ceremonies, circumcision festivals and weddings were held in Edirne and marriage ceremonies of Mehmet II., were so magnificent that even it made Istanbul jealous. Edirne, of course, was not always a "Der-i Saadet" in memories. This "Border City", and "An Islamic Wall" in the words of Evliya Çelebi, has also met with disasters many times in its history. The city was overwhelmed by siege and occupation at most. Edirne, which is remembered as "the Gate of Happiness" by festivals, should always be put next to Edirne "the Heartsick".
Edirne has always been a city where cultural
events are plenty. Architectural innovations have come about with the buildings
of this city, the most beautiful examples of calligraphy and ornamentation are
given here, many of the madrasas have witnessed intense discussions, and the
first applications in the history of medicine have started here. Edirne, the
second city of the empire and where its identity is shaped during the Ottoman
period, is one of the cities where our cultural heritage is felt most
intensely. Edirne is the city that best meets the features of being a border
town and the first to welcome those who come to our country with its houses,
bazaars, bridges, historical buildings and especially with the Great Selimiye.
Reference Web Site: Edirne Valiliği, http://www.edirne.gov.tr