Tekirdağ (pronounced [teˈciɾdaː]; see also its other names) is a city in Turkey. It is a part of the region historically known as East Thrace, located on the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. In 2019 the city's population was 204,001. There are honorary consulates of Greece and Bulgaria in Tekirdağ.
|• Mayor||Kadir Albayrak (CHP)|
|• District||1,111.53 km2 (429.16 sq mi)|
|Elevation||37 m (121 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (TRT)|
Names and etymologyEdit
Tekirdağ was called Bisanthe or Bysanthe (Greek: Βισάνθη/Βυσάνθη), and also Rhaedestus (Ῥαιδεστός) in classical antiquity. The latter name was used until 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 called Tekfurdağı, based on the Turkish word tekfur, meaning "Byzantine lord". In time, the name mutated into the Turkish Tekirdağ, and this became the official name under the Turkish Republic. The historical name "Rhaedestos" (transcribed also as Raidestos) was continuously used until today in Greek Orthodox ecclesiastical context (e.g. Bishop of Raidestos, Metropolitanate of Heraclia and Raidestos (18th-19th centuries).
Tekirdağ is situated on the northern coast of the Sea of Marmara, 135 kilometres (84 miles) west of Istanbul. 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 2000 ft. that rises into the hilly plateau to the north. Between Tekirdağ and Şarköy is another mountain, Ganos Dağı.
Tekirdağ has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa, Trewartha: Cs). Summers are hot and humid whilst winters are cool and wet. Snowfall is quite common between the months of December and March, snowing for a week or two.
|Climate data for Tekirdağ (1991–2020, extremes 1939–2020)|
|Record high °C (°F)||23.9
|Average high °C (°F)||8.6
|Daily mean °C (°F)||5.2
|Average low °C (°F)||2.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−13.5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||58.2
|Average precipitation days||12.30||11.30||12.27||10.67||9.80||7.73||3.87||3.00||6.17||9.23||9.73||12.97||109.0|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||83.7||98.9||136.4||180.0||232.5||264.0||297.6||269.7||207.0||145.7||99.0||77.5||2,092|
|Mean daily sunshine hours||2.7||3.5||4.4||6.0||7.5||8.8||9.6||8.7||6.9||4.7||3.3||2.5||5.7|
|Source: Turkish State Meteorological Service|
The history of the city of Tekirdağ dates back to around 4000 BC. In Xenophon's Anabasis it is mentioned to be a part of the kingdom of the Thracian king Seuthes. It is also mentioned as Bisanthe by Herodotus (VII, 137).
The city was a Samian colony. Its restoration by Justinian I in the 6th century AD is chronicled by Procopius. In 813 and again in 1206, after the Battle of Rodosto, it was sacked by the Bulgarians, but it continued to appear as a place of considerable note in later Byzantine history. It was also ruled by the Venetians between 1204 and 1235. The 11th-century Byzantine historian Michael Attaleiates owned property in Raidestos which he describes in his will.
In the Ottoman period the city was successively a part of the Rumelia Eyalet, then of the Province of the Kapudan Pasha, the Silistra Eyalet, and Edirne Vilayet. After 1849 it was the seat of the Sanjak of Tekfürtaği.
Tekirdağ was occupied twice by Russian army on 22 August 1829 during Russo-Turkish War (1828-1829) and on 1 February 1878 during Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878). After these wars, the city was given back to Ottoman rule.
In 1905, the city had a population of about 35,000; of whom half were Greeks who were exchanged with Muslims living in Greece under the 1923 agreement for Exchange of Greek Orthodox and Muslim Populations between the two countries.
In 1912, after the defeat at the Battle of Lule Burgas the retreating Turkish army set fires on several parts of the town and massacred many Christians. Even children were thrown to the flames. After the battle, Tekirdağ was occupied by Bulgarian army on 11 November 1912. The city was liberated on 13 July 1913.
Rhaedestus was the name of the city during the Roman Empire and remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church. The diocese belonged to the ecclesiastical province of Heraclea Sintica. Roman Catholic Church activity has long ceased.
The Tekirdağ area is the site of many holiday homes, as the city is only two hours drive from Istanbul via a new four-lane highway. The villages of Şarköy, 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 the Yeniçiftlik beaches.
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 the BOTAŞ Terminal, both of which are important for trade activities in the Marmara 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 called Tekirdağ köftesi, traditionally followed by courses of a sweet local cheese and semolina pudding.
The inland areas are fertile farmland, growing crops including winter wheat, sunflowers, cherries and grapes for wine-making: thus the high quality rakı for which Tekirdağ is noted. The distilleries were state-owned until the 1990s but are now in private hands and the wine and rakı industries 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 the rakı distillery and another north of the city on the road to Muratlı.
Tekirdağ is the home of Namık Kemal University, which was founded in 2006 with three faculties. It is located at the eastern edge of the city.
Places of interestEdit
- The Tekirdağ Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography contains 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.
- The Namık Kemal House Museum is devoted to the life and works of theTurkish nationalist poet Namık Kemal (1840–1888).
- The Rakoczi Museum, an 18th-century Turkish house, where the Hungarian national hero, Francis II Rákóczi lived during his exile, from 1720 until his death in 1735. Today, the museum is a property of Hungary and is widely visited, having become a place of national pilgrimage.
- Of all the statues of Atatürk in Turkey, the town centre of Tekirdağ holds the only one that was made exactly life-size.
- Kutman Wine Museum of Kutman Winery at Mürefte, Şarköy in Tekirdağ
- Nefise Akçelik (1955–2003), civil engineer specializing in tunnel building
- Phaedimus of Bisanthe (3rd or 2nd century BC), ancient Greek poet
- Rifat Karlova (born 1980), comedian and actor residing in Taiwan
- Namık Kemal (1840–1888), nationalist poet
- Bekri Mustafa Pasha (1688–1698), Ottoman grand vizier
- Tekirdağlı Hüseyin Pehlivan, wrestling champion
- Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasha
- Francis II Rákóczi (1676–1735), Hungarian prince and national hero
- Kelemen Mikes (1690–1761), Hungarian political figure and essayist
- Erhan Tabakoglu (born 1967), professor and rector of the Trakya University
- Memduh Şevket Esendal (1883–1952), writer
- Emre Tetikel (born 1985), actor and novelist
- Solomon Maimon (Rabbi) (1918–2019), American Sephardic Rabbi
Twin towns – sister citiesEdit
Bedesten (Ottoman Bazaar)
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