A Land lying at the intersection of
civilizations: Thracian Period Cultural Treasures of Edirne City!
Thrace Region is one of the rare regions where you can track down the
collapsing eras of human beings. Although the studies conducted on Thrace
Region are generally limited, the data obtained from such researches are
sufficient enough to provide a quite large information environment. In the
light of said data, human being existence on the Thrace Region can be followed
up backwards up to thousands of years from today.
Thrace Region is a cultural heaven drawing attention with its past over
750.000 years. Researches conducted in various parts of Thrace Region are also
exhibiting a significant archeological potential with their data tracked down
through quite early periods. As being carrying a very big importance in terms
of archeology, Edirne lands located at the heart of Thrace Region constitute an
absolute bridge between the civilizations and make an indelible impression on
our eyes with its thousands of years of accumulated archeological data (1).
It is possible to encounter with a cultural heritage example left from
Thracian Period in almost every part of the region located within the
provincial borders of Edirne city today. Although the data obtained were only
compiled under two studies realized in large-scaled research projects; they did
not draw the sufficient attention onto this subject. However, even with their
current status, these studies in terms of quality and quantity establish a
significant potential on this subject. The said archeological data, even with
their current statuses, constitute an important cultural tourism source today.
Hence, the only thing needs to be done for now is to reveal and display this
cultural heritage and to enable the necessary visiting opportunities for
today’s humans. This is because, this archeological inheritance is the
common treasure of whole humanity.
1 ) Researches conducted on Edirne city are owned by limited numbers
of researchers. Although the region had drawn quite big attention beginning
from the midst of 19th century; studies on this region were in fact
quite delayed and the numbers of the researchers studying the Thrace region
were always limited. Therefore, the scientists recognizing and who are aware of
the Thrace region in real terms were always counted on the fingers of one hand.
With regard the persons who call themselves expert on this subject, the
significant part of such persons are mostly the ones who are groping around in
the darkness to find a way. Hence, this circumstance is quite obvious for the
In this article, the data in question related with significant part
of the Thracian Period archeological findings are the data brought into light
as a result of the studies of the authors of this article in person namely;
Prof. Dr. Engin Beksaç and Assistant Professor Şule Nurengin
Beksaç. For this reason, academician authors of this article also are
proud of being submitting many archeological data discussed in this article to
the consideration of science world for the first time. Furthermore, the authors
of this article share the pleasure and pride of proving that there are many
important data regarding the Thracian Period against the persons who once
argued that there were no important Thracian data in the region. Authors hereby
owe a truly debt of gratitude to Archeologist Mrs. Bilnur Kurt for her
contributions for realizing their studies discussed herein.
This study would not be possible to be achieved without the valuable
supports and concerns of EDESOB President Mr. Emin İnağ and General Secretary
Mr. Özay Güngören who provided an opportunity for this kind of
study that can be counted as the first one for the Thrace Region of Turkish
Republic. Authors of this article feel appreciated of presenting their cordial
thanks to all of the foregoing persons.
The existence of human being in the region existing within the provincial
borders of Edirne city can be tracked down precisely back to the Early
Neolithic Period. Many venues harboring the archeological findings of the said
era back to 7000 B.C. were detected and determined through surface researches
and explorations. Some of the archeological venues located in the districts of
Edirne city such as Enez, Meriç, İpsala, Lalapaşa, Süloğlu, Centre
and Uzunköprü districts are drawing attention with this regard. Among
these districts, only the Hocaçeşme Mound became the scene of
archeological excavation works –although not comprehensive- of which were
conducted in the west of Yenice Village located within the borders of Enez
district. As this mound is located right next to the highway arriving to Enez,
it can be easily visited by the visitors.
Other various centers of archeological findings that can be related with
Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages coming after the Neolithic Period are also
encountered within the provincial borders of Edirne city.
Archeological inheritance of Edirne city had spread around not only some
regions of the city, but almost in all regions of the city. These findings can
be possible to be collected under four periods as follows:
1- Period before the Thracians,
2- Thracian Period,
3- Roman Period, and
4- Medieval Period.
Thracian Period is one of the periods especially represented by quite lot of
sui generis examples as constituting the subject-matter of this article.
Thracian Period includes a very extensive period of time following after the
Late Bronze Age, approximately between 1300’s B.C and up to
1st century A.D.
We can classify the archeological findings left from Thracian Period as
1- Settlement Zones
4- Altars and Sacred Places
6- Obelisks and Cemeteries
Although the archeological excavation studies were not fulfilled in the
strict sense, quite significant information was collected about these
archeological findings through surface researches.
1- Settlement Zones of Thracian Period:
Settlement zones that can be relatable with the Thracian Period within the
provincial borders of Edirne city are located on an extensively large area and
they are being represented with a lot of numbers of examples. These examples
appear before us especially in Lalapaşa, Süloğlu and Centre districts as
well as more richly in Enez, İpsala and Meriç districts. Except the
above listed districts, there were also traces detected in some areas of Keşan,
Uzunköprü and Havsa districts, too.
The said settlement zones are usually distributed among plain areas and
fortified villages or towns located on elevations of the region. The stoneware
artifacts found in these settlement zones are particularly relatable with the
Thracian Period of which can be detected with the samples of black stoneware
examples belonging to the Iron Age. Among such type of settlement zones, as
being the best monitored and tracked down samples; Kaynaklar Locality nearby
the Yağcılı village of Süloğlu district and the area right next to
Küçükdöllük village of Lalapaşa district are drawing
attention as the best examples of such settlement zones in terms of disposing
these areas for touristic purposes in the future.
At this point, Göztepe is also drawing attention although it is
connected with a castle of which is locating in the Karaincirli shores of Enez
The area surrounding the Kaynaklar Locality nearby the Yağcılı village along
with other places of archeological findings is determined as a venue occupied
since the Neolithic Period. Fortified remains of a building found in this area
also draw attention as being an example of partly military and partly religious
structure that was preferred by the rulers of Thracian Period for the purpose
of settlement. The stoneware artifacts along with other archeological findings
found in this area during the conducted researches are also supporting this
This settlement type, particularly with its water resources and stream bed
right next to it has a quite interesting archeological feature when considered
as a whole.
In another settlement zone located on a hill right behind the
Küçükdöllük village, there were also other
archeological findings detected left from Thracian Period. Furthermore, the
wooden palisade traces surrounding this hill constitute an important evidence
for the qualification of this area, in which it is obviously noticed that it is
leveled out and flattened with the human intervention.
Two tumuli existing in front of this settlement zone located on a plain area
displays a close relationship especially with this settlement zone.
Another example of Thracian Period settlement zones that can be utilized for
touristic purposes is located in the pastureland of Dombay village of Lalapaşa
district. This area currently shares its location with a watch-tower left from
medieval ages. Traces of a structure left from Thracian Period are easily seen
underneath of this watch-tower structure of which still exists today. Around
the land where the watch-tower lies there are so many Thracian Period stoneware
exist. These stoneware artifacts show us utilization of these items beginning
from the Early Iron Age until the midst of Middle Age. It is possible that this
settlement zone was once a settlement centre of a Thracian ruler back then.
Although it was furnished and equipped as a castle, the settlement zone
located in the shores of Karaincirli village of Enez district can also be an
area utilized for touristic purposes regarding the displaying and exhibiting of
Thracian Period settlement. Fortified settlement zone of King Politys was
detected as located probably in Enez district in the mythological records and
this settlement zone is also related with Politymbria and it is located on a
hill lying at the shores of Saros Gulf. Wooden fortifying works’ remains
can easily be observed at this hill of settlement.
Other than the Thracian Period settlement zones, there are also many
settlement zones exist within the provincial borders of Edirne city of which
are belonging to Roman Period and Middle Age. The settlement zones especially
related with the Middle Age are quite many in terms of numbers. Among such
settlement zones, Sinanköy as a castle-city and Enez are the important
As being a colony city, Enez (Ainos) was first established by the Aeolians
in 7th century B.C. and it is one of the most important Antique
settlement zones of Thrace Region of Turkey. The archeological excavation works
have been conducted for a long time already and Enez (Ainos) is one of the
important archeological centers drawing attention with its archaeological
remains and findings representing both the Classic, Hellenistic and Medieval
The settlement zone of Sinanköy – original name Pravon or
Pravadon / Pravadi- as being one of the significant archeological centers
located right next to Sinanköy village of Lalapaşa district was first used
by the Thracians as a Sacred area and then used as a settlement zone and later
it was transformed into a castle by the Byzantines an settled down. This
settlement zone lies on the elevations near the Lalapaşa River and consists of
various parts as a large complex. In the lower part, monastery and carved rock
church sit with quite interesting views.
Existence of carved rock cult unites also attracts notice as being used
during the Thracian Period within the archeological site of Sinanköy.
Hadrianapolis or Adrianapolis settlement zone of which some of its traces
are found out during the recent excavation works and which is located under
today’s settlement zone of Edirne city also takes its place among one of
the most important data of Antique Ages. Some parts of this settlement zone are
opened for tourism after the completion of archeological excavation works.
Other sections which provide significant information about this Early Roman
settlement zone are yet not opened for tourism. However, one part of this
settlement zone is available for touristic visiting due to completed excavation
Hadrianapolis was founded by Roman Emperor Hadrian in the beginnings of
2nd century A.D. and Emperor Hadrian had issued coins on his name.
Afterwards, the city came to prominence as being one of the most important
cities of Thrace region and became a significant cultural and commercial
Following after the 5th century B.C. it became the kingdom of
Thracians as being the dominant residences of the region and it was one of the
important military bases of Odrisians as well as a settlement zone with its
center in İpsala (Kypsalas) located within the provincial borders of Edirne
city. Three Odrisian kings have issued their coins in İpsala and although the
archeological remains are now being detected with some difficulties; we are in
the opinion of obtaining important results if serious research studies are
conducted in this area. İpsala is the oldest city established within the
Turkish Thrace region.
As being another settlement zone recognized as Kale located in the shores of
Mecidiye of Keşan district; was used as a castle and sacred place and there are
also other signs that are showing that it was a settlement zone of Thracian
Period most probably related with the Chiefs of Caeni / Kaeni. We detected that
this place was having both the military and political functions as well as
religious functions utilized by the Thracian chiefs and later, this settlement
zone was equipped as a castle and used for a long period of time by the
Having an extensive area of use; this settlement zone has also a very
interesting position on the Saros Gulf.
As being the most important historical artifacts within the provincial
borders of Edirne city, the dolmens generally recognized as cemetery monuments;
however they are in fact a part of much more extensive religious formation.
Dolmens are mostly cohere with the Cult of Goddesses and gained a meaning in
the sacred and symbolic geography that they took place in. Within this sacred
geography, they were completely furnished with geomantic principles by also
having astronomical and astrological functions.
Edirne Dolmens located within only Lalapaşa and Süloğlu districts of
Edirne city actually comprise a whole along with the dolmens located within the
provincial borders of Kırklareli city and constitute an important part of much
larger complex located in Rodop, Bulgaria, Sakar and Istranca (Yıldız)
mountains and surroundings. Dolmens located in the Thrace region of Greece are
also included within this complex. It is not possible to encounter with any
other dolmens throughout the region other than this wide and mountainous area
of Thrace Region.
With regard the more dense area of dolmens within the provincial borders of
Edirne city; in fact Lalapaşa district comes as the first and it is possible to
encounter with one or several dolmens almost in and around all villages of this
district. Except Lalapaşa district, many dolmens located around Domurcalı
(Demircihalil) village of Süloğlu district were disappeared in time and
only three of these dolmens were preserved until today in a ruined condition
located on a hill in the west direction of this village.
In fact these three ruined dolmens along with other dolmens known as ruined
already a while ago show us in general that the same geographical principles
were used clearly during their constructions in terms of landscaping and also
they are connected with Lalapaşa district. For this reason, Domurcalı Dolmens
should also be handled within the whole concept of Lalapaşa.
Currently the dolmens are mostly located at the northern part of Lalapaşa
district which are adjacent with the borders of Bulgaria. It was also observed
that these dolmens are connected and related with other examples located around
Ömeroba village as well as other dolmens located in Kırklareli city and
especially with the dolmens located in Kofçaz.
Likewise other all similar ones, it can be clearly seen that they have the
same type of landscaping shaped in line with the same determined principles for
those times. Dolmens were constructed fully at south-east, south and southwest
directions and focused on the south horizon and they have close contact with
the natural facts that they are sitting in. These dolmens have close relations
with the rivers surrounding them and at the same time, they are connected with
the rocks, hills and other elevations around them as representing the said
Dolmens are observed that they have a very close relation with the Sun Cult
and it is also observed that they exhibit a close relation with the equinoxes
and solstices as well. In the light of currently existing data; it is apparent
that dolmens are much more convenient for a perception of stockbreeding culture
rather than an agriculturist calendar.
In fact, it is clearly seen that the dolmens were shaped within a similar
natural environment having the same principles with the rock-altars, tumuli and
even with the settlement zones.
Today, nearly 60 dolmens can be detected within Edirne city some ruined and
some in a better condition. These dolmens were constructed in two types as;
1- With single room, single dromos,
2- With double rooms, single dromos
Cist type formations were ran across around some of these dolmens and most
of them were identified as they do not have such cist type formations.
Materials used during the construction of these dolmens are local basalt
It is difficult to note that sufficient excavation works are conducted for
the dolmens located within the provincial borders of Edirne city. Only in two
of these dolmens, the rescue and recovery excavations were able to be realized.
Currently these dolmens are being exhibited in the garden of Edirne City
Archeological Museum. In addition, the dolmen brought from Hacılar village of
Lalapaşa district is also being exhibited in the Museum. Also there is another
dolmen known as Lalapaşa I or Arpalık Dolmen sits right next to district center
The data obtained during the excavation works had provided us opportunity to
precisely date these dolmens in Early Iron Age.
Most of these dolmens are located in places difficult to reach and
transport. However, other examples which are really close to transportation
routes can be easily utilized for touristic purposes.
As an example for the dolmens which can be easily visited we can give the
big one with double room-single dromos that has been exhibited in the garden of
Edirne City Archeological Museum. This dolmen was found and removed from its
original place located in the east part of the village road of Hacılar village
affiliated to Lalapaşa district. Then t was moved to the garden of the Museum.
Today there is a pit existing in the original place of this dolmen.
At the southern direction of this dolmen, there is originally another long
shaped dolmen. This second dolmen is currently in a ruined condition; however
it has different formation when compared with its peers. Hence, it was noticed
that this dolmen had two rooms and the back room has a very long rectangular
plan. Both of these dolmens were arranged according to the south direction and
focused on the rocky formed elevation located just ahead of these dolmens.
Furthermore, traces of other dolmens in this area can be identified.
During its transportation to Edirne City Archeological Museum, the
excavation studies were conducted and the found artifacts during the said
excavation are being exhibited in the Museum also. Early Iron Age ceramics as
well as an urno with ashes inside and a big bead piece with blue and white
colors were found during the excavations.
Another dolmen that can be easily visited and reached is Lalapaşa I or
Arpalık dolmen located right next to the district center of Lalapaşa district.
This dolmen has been preserved in its original place and now located inside a
ruined landscape. Despite this fact, it is possible to identify the symbolic
geography wherein this dolmen sits with some difficulties. This is a double
room- single dromos big size dolmen and positioned according to the south
horizon. In this dolmen, a rescue excavation was conducted with a rush and also
recovery study was made although it was full of mistakes.
Early Iron Age archeological remains were found during the excavation works
and also some human being remains and a metal needle was found during the
Once you leave this dolmen which is extremely easy to visit, on the road
heading the exit of Lalapaşa district and connecting Hacıdanişment to Vaysal
district, we can see Lalapaşa II Dolmen at the right part of the road in the
middle of a rocky hill in north direction. This dolmen is smaller in size and
it is in a single room-single dromos type. It still preserves its symbolic
landscaping for now. Although its side covers are fell down, it is still in a
good condition and no other archeological signs are encountered around this
This dolmen was placed in the middle of a rocky are focused on south
horizon. In addition, at the south part of this dolmen, there are İğrek Rocks
and Sun Altar. At the west part of this dolmen, there are other dolmens exist
difficult to reach of which are all located behind the rocky area in the west
part of the current highroad.
Once you leave Lalapaşa II Dolmen and head toward north direction, there are
other dolmens existing both at the right and left sides of the road arriving to
Hacıdanişment village, however it is difficult to reach those dolmens for a
person who doesn’t know the area well.
On this route, Father Muhyittin Dolmens can be easily reached ad visited. In
order to reach this dolmen, you need to pass Hacıdanişment village and follow
the road arriving to Vaysal village. After you pass Father Muhyittin Hill,
there are two dolmens existing at the right side of the road, one ruined and
one in a better condition. It is possible to visit these two dolmens easily of
which are located right next to the highroad.
Dolmen in a better condition with double rooms and single dromos is the best
dolmen example of Turkish Thrace Region. Although it was positioned according
to the south horizon, as it is now sitting in a quite heavy forest texture, it
is very difficult to perceive this feature of the dolmen currently.
An interesting identification was made by Prof. Dr. Engin Beksaç
regarding its dating during his studies conducted in this dolmen.
As being different from other dolmens, where mostly Early Iron Age stoneware
findings are found in during the relevant studies; Late Bronze Age stoneware
were also identified inside the formation of this dromos and inside the soil
embankment left from unlicensed excavations of treasure hunters. These
archeological findings carry the original formation date of this dolmen even
before the times of the Early Iron Age.
Other dolmen located at the south direction, right ahead of the big dolmen
has single room and single dromos when you look at the first sight, however it
is quite ruined and therefore it is difficult to conduct a thorough
archeological excavation in this dolmen. Yet, it is very easy to reach and
Another dolmen which can be easily visited among the Lalapaşa Dolmens is
located at the south-west of Süleymandanişment village in Cevizlik
Locality. This dolmen can be easily seen even on the highroad and it has a
quite easy position to reach. This is a double room-single dromos dolmen with
big size. However, as the stones of front room were toppled down, only the back
room and side stones of the dolmen can be seen and observed. Yet, even with its
current condition, it has a gorgeous look.
This dolmen was positioned according to the south horizon and focused on a
rocky area. Dolmen is in fully in a harmony with the landscape it sits on and
still preserves its original formation. It can be counted as one of the most
beautiful dolmens of Turkish Thrace Region. Around this dolmen Late Bronze Age
stoneware were found by Prof. Dr. Engin Beksaç.
Other dolmens which are easy to reach and located at the west of Domurcalı
(Demircihalil) village affiliated to Süloğlu district are currently in a
quite ruined condition. Although their landscapes are in a very good condition
and they were all positioned according to the south horizon.
Early Iron Age stoneware found during the studies conducted in this area had
shown close relations especially with the area located between the Dnieper and
Dniester rivers and with the steps of northern part of the Black Sea Region and
therefore it has of vital importance with regard to revealing the relations
between Thracian Dolmens and dolmens located in northern part of Black Sea and
There are too many castles and watch-towers existing within the provincial
borders of Edirne city. Most of these castles and watch-towers were left from
Middle Age. However, there are some castles belonging to the Thracian Period.
Most of these Thracian Period castles are located in places difficult to reach
and therefore it is also difficult to utilize such places for touristic
purposes. On the other hand, castles belonging to Middle Age are mostly located
in places easy to reach and visit and therefore it is much easier to utilize
these castles for touristic purposes.
Archeological evaluations of the Thracian Period castles were not realized
until today. The most beautiful examples f Thracian Period castles are
especially located in Vaysal and Ömeroba villages of Lalapaşa district and
around the Hisarlı, Çandır and Karaincirli villages of Enez district.
4– Altars and Sacred Places:
There are many attention grabbing rock altars existing left from the
Thracian Period within the provincial borders of Edirne city. Although these
altars were located in various environments and with different functions, they
exhibit the typical features of Thrace Region Rock Altars. Rock altars show an
interesting distribution within the provincial borders of Edirne city as
divided into north and south groups. Depending on this fact, some other
sub-regional differences can be identified thereof.
Rock altars located at north are within the borders of Lalapaşa district and
the southern altars are located within the borders of Enez, İpsala and Keşan
districts. These altars display similar features like the altars located in
Kırklareli city as well as other similar sacred formations located in Bulgaria
and Greece with all having parallel similarities. Furthermore, these altars
also have exact similarities with the sacred formations located in Northwest
Anatolia and inner lands of Anatolia.
Another fact which can be noticed about the Thracian Rock Altars is that
they have close relations with the historical geography of antique ages. In
other words, these rock altars have close relations with the settlement
policies and systems of the communities once lived in the area.
Fincankaya is an interesting monument which is located in the pastureland of
Hamzabeyli village among these northern part sacred rock monuments. Fincankaya
is in a close location right next to the country borders of Turkey and Bulgaria
and it is sitting right under the tower of Fincankaya. As it currently exists
within the military zone, it is difficult to utilize this place for touristic
Fincankaya was constructed on blocks of rocks on a slightly high elevation
which is positioned towards south-east and it is a rock altar having a circle
description. It is connected with Hamzabeyli Dolmen which is located beneath
the altar, on a plain area within this landscape. It is apparent that this
altar has relations with the Sun Cult.
With its circle-like layout arrangement, it was found right next to a stream
bed of southern part of Büyünlü village of Lalapaşa district.
However, as it was completely ruined by the treasure hunters, relevant studies
can not be conducted on fully.
Another similar example is located on the İğrek Rocky area which is right
behind the district center of Lalapaşa. When the landscape is elaborately
reviewed, it can be clearly seen that the circle shaped arrangement on a flat
rock which is in the middle of a large rocky area is closely related with the
Another rocky monument existing within the borders of Lalapaşa district and
having obvious relations with the Sun Cult is the Çöke Hill located
right next to Doğanköy village. It was positioned according to the south
horizon and the throne shaped arrangement owns a quite interesting shadow
clock/gnomon on the relevant rock as the main focus arrangement. It was
identified that this hill was used for military purposes after the Thracian
Period and the pertaining data were encountered with and obtained on the plain
area right behind this rocky area.
Another rock monument connected with such type of Sun Cult is located in the
pastureland of Keramettin village of Süloğlu district. This formation with
circle shaped table was ruined and toppled down by the treasure hunters and
despite this fact, the cup marks existing on the surface of the rock can be
clearly seen. The rock was arranged according to the south horizon and it has a
quite interesting landscaping.
Kapankaya also draws our attention as being an interesting rock monument
located in the pastureland of Yünlüce village affiliated to Lalapaşa
district. The location of this monument along with dense plant texture makes it
difficult to gain this monument for tourism.
Archeological site right next to Sinanköy village of Lalapaşa district
draws attention in relation to its connection with Middle Age castle and
settlement zone. However, at the eastern part of this large area there are
interesting arrangements of a rock altar along with a water reservoir behind
the geographical formation which is noticed as it is stream bed.
Other than this large area, there are many rock niches of Thracian Period
located at the northeast part of the rocks underneath the plain area of Middle
Age settlement zone. It can be clearly noticed that these rock niches were once
used as place of reclusion during medieval period and they were used as an
integral part of sacred place during the Thracian Period with close relations
with the Sun Cult.
At the western slope of Sinanköy archeological site, there are some
other rock altars came across on the slopes right under the castle walls.
Underneath of this rocky area, the carved rock parts of monastery and cathedral
are taking place.
A sacred place exists with its various sub-unites constituting a whole right
behind Suakaçağı village of Center district. This area is next to Tunca
River and locates above the country borders of Turkey and Bulgaria. As this
area is next to the country borders and within a military zone, it is difficult
to utilize this area for touristic purposes.
This sacred place consists of various parts which comprise a whole together
with the main units such as Berberodası, Sinekli Mağara Cave and Delikli Kaya
Rock. It is also quite obvious that this are is connected with the Sun Cult and
in addition, it was noticed that Sineklimağara cave within this complex was
once used as a church related with the Bogomille sect of Christianity during
the Middle Age.
Rock monument known as Delikli Mağara was positioned right across other
monuments and it is located at the west side of Tunca River. Together with its
overall sub-units, this sacred place gives us the appearance of a wide Thracian
Sacred Valley. The unit existing in the center part of this scared area known
as Berberodası draws attention as being a sub-complex unit furnished with
sacred cave, altars and altar pits surrounding it. Accordingly, the relations
of this sub-unit with the Sun Cult can be clearly identified.
As being one of the most attention grabbing examples of altars located in
the southern districts of Edirne city, Beğendik altar although it was
completely destroyed by a quarry enterprise; during the studies conducted on
this land Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age stoneware artifacts were
encountered with. As it is likely in other similar examples, it can be
confirmed that this altar was used for military purposes during the Middle Age
by examining the remains of tower and tower walls built here. It was noticed
that the altar was focused on the south horizon as a result of examination of
the current traces. It gives us an interesting landscaping formation together
with other altars surrounding it. Although the Beğendik altar is close by to
Keşan district; it is actually within the borders of İpsala district.
As being another rock altar located within the borders of İpsala district,
Ortataştepe or Horatepe has a great importance in terms of Thracology. This
altar is located on an elevation right next to Koyuntepe village. Although it
was significantly destroyed by a quarry enterprise near the altar; it still
preserves its all magnificence.
In fact, it can be understood that the main altar part was not exposed to
excessive changes in time and it is located on the sharp rocks above the peak
of rocky elevation. Early stoneware findings were encountered with during the
studies conducted around this area. Among these archeological findings, some of
the identified samples show us that this altar was used even much before the
Thracian Period. Stoneware artifacts belonging to Chalcolithic Period among
these samples clearly sets forth that this sacred place was used since the time
of very early ages.
Ortataştepe is a quite nice example in terms of landscaping it sits on
regarding the cosmogonic and symbolic geographical venue formation of early
ages. This rocky area existing within the swamps indicates us a typical
formation of the Universe Mountain and Omphalos.
In this quite large periphery it exists, its relations with the Sub Cults
due its geographical location along with its relations with other cultist
approaches can be clearly identified. A small bronze made Helios figurine of
which was found illegally at the beginning of 2000’s and later delivered
to Edirne Museum is a very important evidence proving the close relation of
this altar with the Sun Cult. Beyond its feature of being an altar, Ortataştepe
is noticed that it has fulfilling the functions of a clock and calendar.
At the shores of Mecidiye affiliated with Keşan district, in the place known
as Castle of Italian Castle Bay a very interesting Thracian Period formation
can be seen at the first sight among the remains identified as a Middle Age
castle. It is understood that this formation was actually once a rock altar and
then transformed and used as a castle during the later periods. This area is
located near to Saros Gulf and the traces of sacred cave and temenos walls
right next to the rock altars can easily be identified. Furthermore, it was
understood that it is one of the interesting examples of shore type rock altars
known with rare numbers. In addition, this sacred place gives us the impression
that it may be probably connected with the Caeni/Kaeni tribe, who were known as
first inhabitants of this place.
Çataltepe Rock Altar existing within the borders of Enez district
locates at the northern part of Enez settlement, right next to road arriving to
İpsala district. As being the most interesting rock monument of Turkish Thrace
Region, this monument draws our attention with its typological features which
can be identified somewhere between Thrace Region and Northwest Anatolia rock
Çataltepe Rock Altar is located on an upright rocky cape right next
to swamp area formed by the Meriç River and its bayous. At the upper
parts of this rocky altar there are altar pit and altar arrangements and at the
lower part there is a sacred cave in the same level with the ground bottom of
the swamp. Furthermore, it was identified that the rock altar is in a complete
harmony with the landscape it exists in.
Another rock altar type existing within the provincial borders of Edirne
city can only be encountered with on the wide and long valley sitting between
the elevations of Çeribaşı and Yazır villages of Enez district as well
as Çandır and Hisarlı villages. This monument type that can be seen only
at the southern parts of Bulgaria and at the mountainous parts of Greek Thrace
Region and except the foregoing regions, there is no other example of this
monument type within Turkish Thrace Region. Local residences call this type of
monument as the Fırınkaya of which can be represented with the examples located
in Evkaya, Deliktaş, Kesikkaya, Bağlık, Eldizen and Tavşantepe localities
around Yazır and Çeribaşı villages.
Among these localities, particularly Bağlık Fırınkaya and Tavşantepe
Fırınkayası are the most attention drawing examples and they indicate us that
once they were forming sacred places due to the landscape arrangements
surrounding them. Especially the Labris relievo existing on Tavşantepe
Fırınkayası and other rock altars located on a plain area right behind this
altar reveals us its scared identity. When we evaluate this area in terms of
symbolic and sacred landscape formations; we can easily see that it has a
complete harmony with the Thracian Period settlements and megalithic monuments
and this whole formation was originated from Thracian World-View as well as
from its belief systems. Dolmens and rock altars that can be identified and
defined with the megalithic monuments along with other sacred places were given
important functions within this entire structure.
There are too many tumuli built within the provincial borders of Edirne city
within a quite large time, beginning from the period before the Thracians and
continued to be built also after the Thracian Period. Today, very few of these
tumuli were excavated. Tumuli are mostly distributed on the land by composing
necropolis areas where several tumuli exist together. However, it can be also
seen that one or more than one tumulus were distributed on the land depending
upon the usage of landscape. It is observed that the tumuli within the
provincial borders of Edirne city mostly located in the northern districts.
Despite this fact, tumuli are also encountered with at the southern districts
of Edirne city. However, the tumuli distributions in the southern districts are
more rare when compared with the northern districts.
6- Obelisks and Cemeteries:
There are too many cemetery areas wherein the obelisks were built inside in
Turkish Thrace Region. It was identified as a result of the conducted studies
that, such obelisk areas are not related with the Thracian Period but they are
connected with the cemeteries beginning from the medieval age until the midst
of 20th century.