Edirne’s Kervansaray

The Selimiye is the major landmark in Edirne but the Eski Cami to the west on the main thoroughfare cannot be missed. To its west the bedesten, completed in 1418 by Mehmet l, still functions as a covered bazaar.  Heading south is a tea garden followed by Rüstem Paşa’s kervansaray across the street. The area is a bustle of shops and restaurants, and one can imagine it was the same in Sinan’s day. This is probably why Rüstem chose the area for his building; he could envision a profit after the expenses of his kervansaray. 

Renovated about 1965, the kervansaray received the Ağa Khan Architectural Award recognizing the preservation of this important structure. The rental spaces fronting the north façade again house thriving businesses as does the interior with the hotel and restaurant-bar. This gives access to the small as well as large courtyard for a view of much of Sinan’s design, but first walk around the exterior to see the fortress like structure of the other walls.

Facing the stores one notices the curve in the façade.  An amusing story relates Sinan’s desire to preserve an exceptionally beautiful old plane tree. True or not, this feature certainly turns what could have been a boring row of shops into one of architectural interest.  There are many more details in this building worth mentioning but discovering them on ones own is part of the fun of traveling.  See you there.


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