(Redirected from Bizye)

Vize (Greek: Βιζύη, Bulgarian: Виза) is a town and district of Kırklareli Province in the Marmara region of Turkey. District's governor is Savaş Ünlü, and the mayor is Sedat Balkı (MHP). In 2010 the population of the town was 12,196 and the district 29,153. The town's distance to the province center is 56 km (35 mi). Vize is situated on the state road D.020, which runs from Istanbul to Edirne through Kırklareli.[3]

Vize view - P1020883.JPG
Vize is located in Turkey
Location in Turkey
Coordinates: 41°34′25″N 27°45′55″E / 41.57361°N 27.76528°E / 41.57361; 27.76528Coordinates: 41°34′25″N 27°45′55″E / 41.57361°N 27.76528°E / 41.57361; 27.76528
Country Turkey
ProvinceKırklareli Province
 • GovernorSavaş Ünlü
 • MayorSedat Balkı (MHP)
 • District1,090.63 km2 (421.09 sq mi)
168 m (551 ft)
 • Urban
 • District
 • District density26/km2 (67/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
39400, 39410, 39460, 39480
Area code(s)0 288
Licence plate39


Vize, under the ancient name Bizya or Bizye (Ancient Greek: Βιζύη) served as capital for the ancient Thracian tribe of the Asti, and was mentioned by several ancient authors.[4][5] The acropolis section up on the hill above the town has some ancient buildings and a perfectly preserved Byzantine Church of Haghia Sophia from probably the 5th or 6th century AD.[6] Also, on the slope of the acropolis was recently found the remains of its ancient theater. Vize with its beautiful setting on the hilltop is in a commanding position over the surrounding area. Across the plain from the town are many burial mounds built for the rulers of Thracian Kingdom. There are some more churches and monasteries, mainly from the Byzantine era, in the neighborhood of Vize. The town also has some Ottoman structures, in addition to an ancient synagogue.

According to the Ottoman population statistics of 1914, the kaza of Vize had a total population of 14.109, consisting of 10.020 Muslims and 4.089 Greeks.[7]

From inscriptions it seems that during the late 1st century BCE Bizye was under local rule of the Sapians rather than under direct Roman control.[8]: 73 

The martyrs Memnon and Severos were killed in Bizye as part of the Diocletianic Persecution beginning in 303.[8]: 289  In 353 CE, the exiled Eustathius of Antioch chose to settle in Bizye, where he later died.[8]: 289  The city is documented as the seat of an archbishop, as a suffragan of Heraclea, as early as the 5th century.[8]: 289 

Beginning in the 6th century, water was piped from Bizye to Constantinople, and some of the pipes are still visible.[8]: 289  In 773 or 774, the emperor Constantine V had a bridge built here.[8]: 289 

Bizye is described as a city (polis) in the province of Europe in the Synecdemus of Hierocles, as well as later in the De Thematibus of Constantine Porphyrogenitus.[8]: 289 

The city appears to be identical with the "Uzusa" (Greek: Οὔζουσα) mentioned in the council in Trullo in 692, which was signed by one Geōrgios elachistos episkopos Uzusēs tēs Thrakōn chōras.[8] Since there is no signature for a representative of Bizye in the document, it is assumed that they are the same place.[8]: 690 

Proto-Bulgarian inscriptions indicate that Khan Krum captured and probably destroyed Bizye.[8]: 289  During the 9th and 10th centuries the city served as the head of a tourmarches.[8]: 289  In the aftermath of Thomas the Slav's rebellion in 823, his stepson Anastasios attempted to take refuge in Bizye but was handed over by the city's residents to the emperor.[8]: 289  The folk saint Maria Nea lived in Bizye after her marriage in 896 to Nikephoros, who was tourmarches here.[8]: 289  After her death in 903, she was venerated as a saint, and her cult became very popular in Bizye and the surrounding regions.[8]: 289 

The Bulgarian emperor Simeon I captured Bizye in c. 925 after a five-year-long siege; the city's walls were destroyed, and most of its population fled to nearby Medea.[8]: 289  Whether Bizye was later targeted during Peter I's campaign in eastern Thrace in 927 is uncertain.[8]: 289 

In the 12th century, the Arab geographer al-Idrisi described Bizye as a large and well-fortified city in a fertile valley, with thriving commerce and industry.[8]: 290  When Cuman invaders came and looted eastern Thrace in 1199, a Byzantine army was dispatched from Bizye to repel them.[8]: 289  They were at first successful, but their initial victory was squandered because the Byzantine troops got greedy.[8]: 289 

After the sack of Constantinople in April 1204, Bizye became part of the new Latin Empire as per the Partitio Imperii Romaniae.[8]: 290  The city did not submit to the Latins at first, and it wasn't until March 1205 that it was brought to heel, along with the similarly rebellious cities of Arcadiopolis and Tzurulon.[8]: 290  Just one month later, though, the Latin army was defeated by a combined force of Bulgars and Cumans led by Tsar Kaloyan, who then launched a series of invasions throughout eastern Thrace.[8]: 290  Bizye was one of the few cities in the region that remained unaffected by the incursions.[8]: 290  Toward the end of 1205, the nobleman Anseau de Cayeux was sent to garrison the city along with 120 knights.[8]: 290  Later in June 1206, the emperor Henry of Flanders set up camp at Bizye, which was honored as "mult ere bone et forz".[8]: 290 

Sometime after 1225, an Epirote force under Theodore Komnenos Doukas advanced on Bizye, but they were unable to take possession of the city.[8]: 290  In 1237, the Cumans again invaded Thrace; many of Bizye's residents were captured and sold as slaves.[8]: 290  In August 1246, the Latin emperor Baldwin II negotiated a deal with the Order of Saint James which would have ceded Bizye and Medea to the order along with possessions in Constantinople, but the treaty was ultimately never put into effect.[8]: 290  In 1147, Bizye (along with Tzurulon, Medea, and Derkos) came under control of John III Doukas Vatatzes, who had allied with the Bulgarians.[8]: 290 

Either at the end of 1255 or the beginning of 1256, the emperor Theodore II Laskaris defeated a combined Bulgarian and Cuman force somewhere between Bizye and Bulgarophygon.[8]: 290  He then concluded a peace treaty that fixed a new border in the upper Maritsa valley.[8]: 290 

From 1286 to 1355, Bizye was the center of one of three known military districts called megala allagia (the other two are Thessaloniki and Serres.[8]: 290  This district covered the entire area stretching roughly from Mesembria in the north to Arcadiopolis in the west and the suburbs of Constantinople in the east.[8]: 290 

At the end of the 13th century or beginning of the 14th, a prostitute from Constantinople named Anna Kremaste died in Bizye.[8]: 290  In 1304, a large Byzantine army was assembled at Bizye, commanded by emperor Michael IX and Michael Doukas Glabas Tarchaneiotes in an attempt to stop a Bulgarian incursion under Theodore Sviatoslav.[8]: 291  The Byzantines had already been defeated at Skaphidas and then at Bizye they were defeated again.[8]: 291 

In 1307, over the protests of the megas tzausios Humbertopoulos, the local population attempted to fight a Catalan force with Turkish auxiliaries under the command of Ferran Ximenes de Arenos.[8]: 291  They were defeated, and the Catalans looted the city.[8]: 291  The city was again looted in 1313, this time by a Turkish force led by one named Ḫalil; the Turks were later defeated in battle at Xerogypsos.[8]: 291 

In the winter of 1322, Syrgiannes Palaiologos captured Bizye along with Raidestos and Sergentzion, but almost immediately lost the city to the forces of Andronikos III Palaiologos.[8]: 291  Andronikos himself stayed in Bizye for several days during the summer of 1324 due to an illness.[8]: 291  That September, Bizye's annual donation to the Patriarchate of Constantinople was set at 100 hyperpera.[8]: 291  Andronikos returned to Bizye with an army in 1328, in anticipation of an attack by his former ally Michael Shishman that never came.[8]: 291  In the summer of 1332, the theologian Matthaios of Ephesos stopped in Bizye en route to Brysis, where he had been appointed to office; he only stayed briefly, but he wrote that there were numerous holy wells or hagiasmata in the area, which were consecrated to the Blessed Mother.[8]: 291  The area around Bizye was described as unsafe due to the presence of robbers at that time.[8]: 291 

In 1344, Bizye was captured by John VI Kantakouzenos, and he installed his general Manuel Komnenos Raul Asen as governor of the city.[8]: 291  A few years later, in the late 1340s, a force of 1,200 Turkish horsemen penetrated Byzantine territory as far as Bizye.[8]: 291  After Matthew Kantakouzenos was forced to abdicate the imperial throne, Bizye remained under his effective control, and he stayed here several times in 1356.[8]: 291 

As part of a synodal act in August 1355, which ratified an alliance between the emperor John V Palaiologos and Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria, the metropolitanate of Bizye was given the archdiocese of Derkos as an epidosis for a short time of about two years.[8]: 291  A similar thing happened with the diocese of Stauropolis in July 1361.[8]: 291 

The inhabitants of Bizye were possibly resettled in 1357 or 58, perhaps because of Turkish brigands taking advantage of the fact that the city's garrison had been depleted by the fighting between John V Palaiologos and Matthew Kantakouzenos.[8]: 291–2 

In the autumn of 1358, Manuel Asanes, Matthew's uncle-turned-enemy, asked John V to make him governor of Bizye.[8]: 292 

In 1368, Bizye came under the control of the Gazi Turks along with other areas in the southern Istranca mountains.[8]: 292  The metropolitan of Bizye was reassigned to Mesembria and Anchialos to compensate for the loss of Bizye.[8]: 292  Bizye was again conquered by the Turks in 1403 and then probably reconquered by the Byzantines under Manuel II Palaiologos in 1410.[8]: 292  Bizye came under Turkish control for the final time at the beginning of 1453, possibly by the troops of Karaca Paşa.[8]: 292 

The Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi visited Vize in 1661, during his sixth trip.[8]: 292  He described it as the seat of a sanjak-bey, inhabited by a mixture of Turks, Bulgarians, and Greeks, and famous for its leeks.[8]: 292 

Places of interestEdit

Little Hagia Sophia of Vize (now, Gazi Suleiman Pasha Mosque)

Little Hagia Sophia Church (Gazi Suleiman Pasha Mosque) (Turkish: Küçük Ayasofya Kilisesi (Gazi Süleyman Paşa Camii)) is a former Byzantine era Orthodox church built during Emperor Justinian I (reigned 527-565) times, which was converted later in the Ottoman era into a mosque. Designed in an Orthodox Basilica plan, the church was constructed upon the foundations of the Temple of Apollo with masonry stone and brick. The cruciform shaped church consists of a nave with two rows of columns with three columns each, two aisles and an apse at one end. Its original wooden roof was replaced in the 12th and 13th centuries by a high dome. The building is vaulted around the dome, a different style that is normally not seen in Byzantian architecture.[9]

Remains of the city wall

Vize Fortress (Turkish: Vize Kalesi) is a fortification constructed in the Ancient Roman era. It is situated at the northwest of the town. It is believed that the fortress was built originally in 72-76 B.C., and was revived during the Justinian I times. It is constructed of clear cut stones and rubble masonry upon foundations with stone blocks of 50 cm × 80 cm (20 in × 31 in) and 100 cm × 150 cm (39 in × 59 in). The bluish color of the stones at the northern wall indicates that this section was rebuilt in the Late Byzantine era during the Palaeologian dynasty. The fortress consists of two nested walls. The western and southern city walls are intact. An inscription in Greek alphabet letters carved on stone, which was found at the fortress, says "Here were watchtowers built under the administration of Firmus, the son of Aulus Pores, along with Aulus Kenthes, the son of Rytes the son of Kenthes, and Rabdus, the son of Hyakinthus." It is exhibited at Kırklareli Museum.[10]


Amphitheatre (Turkish: Antik tiyatro) is an open-air theatre built in the 2nd century during the Late Roman era, the only known one in Thrace. It was discovered in 1998 during archaeological excavations carried out for Çömlektepe tumulus. Parts of the Roman theatre, which still exist, are the cavea (spectators' seats) with aisles between the seats, the scaenae (stage) and orchestra. Reliefs from the scaenae frons, the background of the stage, are exhibited in the Kırklareli Museum.[11]

Image galleryEdit


  1. ^ "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  2. ^ "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
  3. ^ "Vize Belediyesi" (in Turkish). Yerel Net. Retrieved 2011-12-17.
  4. ^ Pliny. Naturalis Historia. 4.18.
  5. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium. Ethnica. s.v. Βιζύη.
  6. ^ Byzantine Church - Ottoman Mosque - Endangered Architectural Monument: An Architectural and Archaeological Survey of the Hagia Sophia at Vize
  7. ^ Kemal Karpat (1985), Ottoman Population, 1830-1914, Demographic and Social Characteristics, The University of Wisconsin Press, p. 170-171
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf Külzer, Andreas; Koder, Johannes (2008). Tabula Imperii Byzantini Bd. 12. Ostthrakien (Eurōpē). Wien: Börsedruck Ges.m.b.H. ISBN 978-3-7001-3945-4. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  9. ^ "Küçük Ayasofya Kilisesi (Süleyman Paşa Camii)" (in Turkish). 2006-04-05. Retrieved 2011-12-18.
  10. ^ "Vize Kalesi" (in Turkish). 2006-04-05. Retrieved 2011-12-18.
  11. ^ "Antik Tiyatro (Odeon)" (in Turkish). 2006-04-05. Retrieved 2011-12-18.

External linksEdit