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Ottoman conquest of Adrianople
Part of the Byzantine–Ottoman Wars
LocationAdrianople (modern Edirne)
Result Ottoman victory
 Byzantine Empire  Ottoman Empire

Adrianople, a major Byzantine city in Thrace, was conquered by the Ottomans sometime in the 1360s, with 1369 being the most commonly accepted date.


By 1354, Ottoman forces were already settled in Gelibolu in the Balkan portion of the Byzantine Empire and they were advancing. Although they had to halt their advance because of the event known as Kidnapping of Şehzade Halil between 1357-1359, after Halil's rescue they resumed their advance. Main target of the advance was Adrianople, which was the third important Byzantine city (after Constantinople and Thessalonica).[1]

Initial operations

Following the capture of Gallipoli by the Ottomans in 1354, Turkish expansion in the southern Balkans was rapid. Whether under Ottoman control or as independent ghazi warrior bands, the Turks seized Demotika (Didymoteicho) in 1360 or 1361 and Philippopolis in 1363.[2] Despite the recovery of Gallipoli for Byzantium by the Savoyard Crusade in 1366,[3] an increasing number of Turcoman warriors crossed over from Anatolia into Europe, gradually acquiring control of the plains of Thrace and pushing to the Rhodope Mountains in the west and the Bulgarian principalities in the north.[4]

Capture of the city

The date of Adrianople's fall to the Turks has been disputed among scholars due to the differences among the source material, with the years 1361 to 1362, 1367 and 1371 variously proposed.[5] Following later sources, earlier scholarship generally placed the conquest between 1361 and 1363.[6] Later Turkish sources report that Lala Shahin Pasha defeated the Byzantine ruler (tekfur) of the city at a battle in Sazli-Dere southeast of the city, forcing him to secretly flee by boat. The inhabitants, left to their fate, agreed to surrender the city in July 1362 in exchange for a guarantee of freedom to continue to live in the city as before.[7]

Today, however, based on recently examined Byzantine sources, scholars have moved the date of the city's capture to 1369.[6][8][9] Thus a poem from the city's metropolitan bishop to Emperor John V Palaiologos shows the city to have still been in Byzantine hands in Christmas 1366, while a series of Byzantine short chronicles place the date of the city's capture in 1369. This also coincides with the report in both Greek and Ottoman sources that a solar eclipse occurred in the year of Adrianople's fall.[6][5] In addition, modern scholars opine that the capture of Adrianople may not have been carried out by Ottoman Turks, but by others of the many independent Turkish warrior groups active in the region.[6]


The city, now renamed Edirne, was taken over and continued for some time to be administered by Lala Shahin Pasha, while Sultan Murad I held court at the old capital at Bursa and only entered the city in the winter of 1376/7,[7][9] when Emperor Andronikos IV Palaiologos ceded Gallipoli to Murad in exchange for his help in a dynastic civil war.[8]

Edirne did not immediately become the Ottomans' capital; Murad's court continued to reside in Bursa and in nearby Demotika, as well as Edirne.[7] Nevertheless, the city quickly became the main Ottoman military centre in the Balkans, and it was there that Süleyman Çelebi, one of the contenders for the Ottoman throne during the Ottoman Interregnum of 1402–13, moved the state treasury.[10]


  1. Halil İnalcık: Kuruluş Dönemi Osmanlı Sultanları, istanbul, İsam, ISBN 978-605-5586-06-5 pp. 69-71
  2. Fine 1994, pp. 377–378.
  3. Fine 1994, p. 368.
  4. Fine 1994, pp. 377–378, 406.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Zachariadou 1970, pp. 211–217.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Fine 1994, p. 406.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Tayyib Gökbilgin 1991, p. 683.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Imber 2002, p. 11.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Gregory & Ševčenko 1991, p. 23.
  10. Tayyib Gökbilgin 1991, pp. 683–684.


Coordinates: 41°40′00″N 26°34′00″E / 41.6667°N 26.5667°E / 41.6667; 26.5667

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