Where to Visit in Kirklareli

Kirklareli Province is a province in northwestern Turkey on the west coast of the Black Sea. The province neighbours Bulgaria to the north along a 180-kilometre (110 mi) long border. It borders the province of Edirne to the west and the province of Tekirdağ to the south and province of Istanbul to the southeast. Kirklareli is the capital city of the province. The province’s and its central city’s name means “the land of the forties” in Turkish and it may refer either to the forty Ottoman ghazis sent by the sultan Murad I to conquer the city for the Ottoman Empire in the 14th century or to the forty churches reported to be situated in the region before the Ottoman conquest, as attested by the former name of Kirklareli (Kırk Kilise in Turkish;. There is a memorial on a hilltop in Kırklareli city, called “Kırklar Anıtı” (the Memorial of the Forties in Turkish) to honor the Ottoman conquerors (For more on the name’s origins, see Kırklareli). The province is bisected by the Yıldız (Istranca) mountain range. The north and northeastern parts of the province are among the least populated and under developed parts of Turkey. The districts to the south and west are more populated because the land is better suited for agriculture and industrial development. The north and eastern parts of the province are dominated by forests. Therefore, forestry is an  important means of living in these areas. Fishing is done along the Black Sea coast. Kirklareli is the capital of the province, but the Lüleburgaz is the largest city in the province.

The province was included in the Second Inspectorate General, which established on the 19 February 1934 and extended over the provinces of Edirne, Çanakkale, Kırklareli, Tekirdağ. It was governed by an Inspector General, who had extensive authorities over civilian, military and educational matters. The office of the Inspectorate-General was abandoned in 1948 but the legal framework of the Inspectorate-Generals was only abolished in 1952, under the Government of the Democrat Party.

The province of Kirklareli is an important region for viticulture and winemaking. A syrup called “Hardaliye”, made of grape, cherry leaves and mustard seeds, is a non-alcoholic beverage special to the region.

Hızır Bey Külliye: This külliye (religious complex) consists of the Hızır Bey Mosque, Hızır Bey Bath and Arasta (Bazaar.). Hızır Bey Mosque: Located at the center of the city, it was built on a square plan by Köse Mihalzade Hızır Bey in 1383. Built of cut stone and having one minaret, it was restored by Yusuf Pasha of Aydost in 1824. Still used today, the final praying place and garden walls of the mosque were built afterwards. Hızır Bey Bath: Also located at the center of the city and built adjacent to Bath and Arasta by Köse Mihalzade Hızır Bey in 1383. There are two entrances, one each for women and men, which are also called the “Paired Baths”. According to an inscription in the women’s bath, Hacı Hüseyin Ağa restored it between 1683 and 1704. Still used today, the outer walls are regular and built from coarse sandstone. It’s a Turkish Bath in the traditional Ottoman architecture style. Arasta (Bedesten): Built adjacent to the Hızır Bey Bath in a “T” form, it has arch-type walls. The upper cover is a vault 15 m long. There were 12 shops inside formed by three beams. It was restored in 1704. Kirklareli Jewish Quarter: A historic neighborhood. Kırklareli Museum: A natural history, ethnography and archaeology museum. Dupnisa Cave: Kırklareli Province is also host to the only cave that is open to tourists in Thrace, the Dupnisa Cave near the village of Sarpdere, which is believed to have formed circa 4 million years ago. The Dupnisa Cave was used for Dionysian Rituals (Sparagmos) in ancient times. Even the name of Dionysus is associated with Mount Nisa right above the cave of Dupnisa; as, according to ancient Greek mythology, Dionysus “discovered wine while playing at Mount Nisa.” The Bulgarian name of Kırklareli, Lozengrad (Лозенград) which means Vineyard Town may also have its origins in this ancient Greek myth. Demirköy Foundry: Archaeological site of a historic iron foundry, where cannonballs fired during the Conquest of Constantinople in 1453 were manufactured.

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