Adrianople


ADRIANOPLE   Greek name of the Turkish city of Edirne (Edreneh, old-fashioned spelling); Odria (Bulgarian).

It stands at the confluence of the Rivers Maritsa and Tundzha, was anciently in Thrace, and was named after the Emperor Hadrian, who re-founded it.

It was always important because it stood on the principal route from Istanbul into the Balkans.   Moreover, whenever Bulgaria was independent, Adrianople was normally close to the frontier .  The Avars took the city in 588;  the Bulgars in 813, 914, and 1004;  they held it with varying degrees of brevity.

In the carve-up of the Byzantine lands among the Crusaders in 1204, Adrianople was allocated to Venice, which however put all its efforts into protecting its sea route to Constantinople.   In 1205 the Latin Emperor Baldwin was defeated and taken prisoner in a battle outside its walls, and Adrianople fell into Bulgarian hands.   The local Greeks soon revolted against Tsar Kalojan, whose attempts to retake the city in 1206 and 1207 failed, though he devastated the country around.   To help protect them the city’s leaders acknowledged the authority of the Emperor Henry, the ablest and most conciliatory of the Latin Emperors.

Adrianople became part of the Epirote Empire of Thessalonica in 1225, of Bulgaria in 1230, and of the Empire of Nicaea in 1246 (which recovered Constantinople in 1261).

It fell to the Turks in 1369 (rather than in the early 1360s as used to be thought) and until 1453 was the European residence of the Ottoman Sultan when he was not on the move with his armies.   EDIRNE was seized by Bulgaria in 1912, but recovered by Turkey in 1913, only to be granted to Greece in the Treaty of Sèvres, 1920.  It was only briefly Adrianople again:  by the Treaty of Lausanne, 1923, it was restored to Turkey.

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