Edirne’s last great imperial mosque, the Beyazit II complex was built by the Ottoman architect Hayrettin for Sultan Beyazit II (r1481-1512) between 1484 and 1488. Today it stands in splendid isolation to the north of Edirne, which means you get wonderful, uninterrupted views of it as you approach.
In style the mosque lies midway between the Ucserefeli and Selimiye designs: it’s large prayer hall has one large dome, similar to the Selimiye but it also has a courtyard and fountain like the earlier Ucserefeli.
The complex is extensive and includes a tabhane ( travellers hostel), medrese, bakery, imaret (soup kitchen), timarhane (asylum) and darüssifa (hospital).
The complex is extensive and includes a tabhane ( travellers hostel), medrese, bakery, imaret (soup kitchen), timarhane (asylum) and darüssifa (hospital). The darüssifa has been converted into the award-winning Museum of Health. Although most of the exhibits are labeled only in Turkish, some of the recreated old rooms are fascinating, particularly the in-patients room illustrating treatment techniques – a surprisingly enlightened selection of quasi – New Age concepts such as music, scent therapy and yes, basket-weaving.
Another part of the complex houses the Contemporary Art & Sculpture Museum (Cagdas Resim ve Heykel Muzesi) which, while not wildly exciting is worth a quick look to see what sort of thing the local talent is turning out.
To get to the complex walk along Hukumet Caddesi from Hurriyet Meydani, passing the Üçserefeli Cami on your right and turn left immediately after its baths. Walk one block and turn right at the fountain. This street, Horozlu Bayir Caddesi, becomes Imaret Caddesi and takes you across the Tunca River via an Ottoman bridge (1488) to the complex. It’s well worth coming out here for the walk alone.