Tekirdağ, is a city in Turkey. It is a part of the region historically known asEastern Thrace. Tekirdağ is the capital ofTekirdağ Province. The city population as of 2016is 972.875.There are honorary consulates of Hungary and Bulgaria in Tekirdağ.
Tekirdağ was called Bisanthe or Bysantheand also Rhaedestus in classical antiquity. The latter name was used till the Byzantine era,transformed to Rodosçuk after it fell to the Ottomans in the 14th century (in western languages usually rendered as Rodosto). After the 18th century it was calledTekfurdağı, based on the Turkish wordtekfur, meaning “Byzantine lord”. In time, the name mutated into the Turkish Tekirdağ, and this became the official name under the Turkish Republic.
Tekirdağ is situated on the northern coast of theSea of Marmara, 135 kilometres (84 miles) west ofIstanbul. The picturesque bay of Tekirdağ is enclosed by the great promontory of the mountain which gives its name to the city, Tekir Dağı (ancient Combos), a spur about 2000ft. that rises into the hilly plateau to the north. Between Tekirdağ andŞarköyis another mountain, Ganos Dağı.
Tekirdağ has a borderlinemediterranean/humid subtropical climate. Summers are long, hot and humid whilst winters are cool and wet.Snowfallis quite common between the months of December and March, snowing for a week or two.
The history of the city of Tekirdağ dates back to around4000BC.Theancient Greekcity of Rodosto is said to have been founded bySamians. InXenophon’sAnabasisit is mentioned to be a part of the kingdom of theThracianprinceSeuthes. It is also mentioned as Bisanthe by Herodotus (VII, 137).
Its restoration byJustinian Iin the 6th century AD is chronicled byProcopius. In 813 and again in 1206, after theBattle of Rodosto, it was sacked by theBulgarians, but it continued to appear as a place of considerable note in laterByzantinehistory. It was also ruled by theVenetiansbetween 1204 and 1235. The 11th-century Byzantine historianMichael Attaleiatesowned property in Raidestos which he describes in his will.
In the Ottoman period the city was successively a part of theRumelia Eyalet, then of theProvinceof theKapudan Pasha, theSilistra Eyalet, andEdirne Vilayet. After 1849 it was the seat of theSanjak of Tekfürtaği.
In 1905, the city had a population of about 35,000; of whom half wereGreeks who were exchanged with Muslims living in Greece under the 1923 agreement forExchange of Greek Orthodox and Muslim Populationsbetween the two countries.
Tekirdağ was for many years a depot for the produce of theEdirneprovince, but its trade suffered whenAlexandroupolisbecame the terminus of the railway up the riverMaritsa.
Ottoman square fountain and Yalı Street
Historic Ottoman wooden houses
The Tekirdağ area is the site of many holiday homes, as the city is only two hours drive fromIstanbulvia a new four-lane highway. The villages ofŞarköy, Mürefte and Kumbağ are particularly popular with Turkish tourists. Much of this holiday property has been built in an unregulated and unplanned manner and thus much of the coast looks over-built. The Marmara Sea is polluted but there are still a number of public beaches near Tekirdağ, especially theYeniçiftlikbeaches.
Tekirdağ is a Turkish commercial town centre with a harbour for agricultural products; the harbor is being expanded to accommodate a new rail link to the main freight line through Thrace. Tekirdağ is the home port of Martas and theBOTAŞTerminal, both of which are important for trade activities in theMarmara Region.
Most of the city’s Ottoman wooden buildings have been replaced by concrete apartment blocks, but some are being restored or replaced with attractive houses in the traditional style. Except for the Rüstem Paşa Camii, built by the Ottoman architect,Mimar Sinan, in the 16th century, and the narrow streets that help one imagine life in the Ottoman period, the city lacks antique charm. One reason to visit is the local delicacy, the small spicy cylindrical grilled meatballs calledTekirdağ köftesi, traditionally followed by courses of a sweet local cheese andsemolina pudding.
The inland areas are fertile farmland, growing crops including winter wheat, sunflowers, cherries and grapes for wine-making: thus the high qualityrakıfor which Tekirdağ is noted. The distilleries were state-owned until the 1990s but are now in private hands and the wine andrakıindustries are undergoing a renewal. Local red wines are inexpensive and worth a taste.
Both the east-west highway (the Via Egnatia from Roman times) and the highway north toward Muratlı and Lüleburgaz are four lanes. There is a prison next to therakıdistillery and another north of the city on the road to Muratlı.
Tekirdağ is the home ofNamık Kemal University, which was founded in 2006 with three faculties. It is located at the eastern edge of the city.
Places of interest
Tekirdağ Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography
Thememorial house of Francis II Rákócziin Tekirdağ
- TheTekirdağ Museum of Archaeology and Ethnographycontains archaeological artifacts found in and around the province, as well as ethnographical items used by the residents of the region relating to the history of cultural life.
- TheNamık Kemal House Museumis devoted to the life and works of theTurkish nationalist poetNamık Kemal(1840–1888).
- TheRakoczi Museum, an 18th-century Turkish house, where theHungariannational hero,Francis II Rákóczilived during his exile, from 1720 till his death in 1735. Today, the museum is a property of the Hungary and is widely visited, having become a place of national pilgrimage.
- The church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Rheumatocratissa contains the graves, with long Latin inscriptions, of otherHungarianswho took refuge here with their leader.
- Of all the statues ofAtatürkin Turkey, the town centre of Tekirdağ holds the only one that was made exactly life-size.
- Notable people
- Phaedimus of Bisanthe, ancient Greek poet (3rd or 2nd century BC)
- Khachadour Paul Garabedian, Armenian American United States Navy officer during the American Civil War
- Ardashes Harutunian, Armenian poet, a self-educated translator from French and literary critic
- Rifat Karlova(born 1980), Turkish comedian and actor residing in Taiwan
- Namık Kemal(1840–1888), Turkish nationalist poet
- Bekri Mustafa Pasha(1688–1698), Ottoman Grand Vizier
- Tekirdağlı Hüseyin Pehlivan, Wrestling Champion
- Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasha
- Barsegh Kanachyan, Armenian composer and musicologist
- Francis II Rákóczi(1676–1735), Hungarian prince and national hero
- Erhan Tabakoglu(born 1967), Turkish Medizinprofessor and Rector of the Trakya Üniversitesi Edirne
- Henri (Malakian) Verneuil, French-Armenian playwright and filmmaker