The rolling hills and sunflower fields of Thrace comprise
European part of Turkey, cut off from Anatolian heartland
in Asia by Dardanelle, Sea of Marmara and Bosphorus.
Standing at the gateway of East is Edirne, dominated by
one of the masters of Ottoman art, Selimiye Mosque. Its
four great minarets stab the skyline and mark the
transition from Occident to Orient.
At the demarcation line between East and West, Marmara
region has turbulent past. It was from ancient Abydos that
Persian King Xerxes spanned Dardanelle with his flotilla
of ships, and nearby 2400 years later these same stairs
were the scene of General Mustafa Kemal's (later Ataturk)
great First World War victory over Allied invasion force.
At Gebze, on the North coast of Marmara, Hannibal lies
buried, and a little further down the coast is Izmit, the
ancient Nicomedia, which for short period became the
capital of Eastern Roman Empire.
Just outside Iznik, the town that provided Ottomans with
their magnificent tiles, the catastrophic First Crusade
came to an end, and it was from Bursa that tiny ottoman
principality expanded to become one of history's greatest
Many remains attest to the region's checkered history,
from Roman walls of Izmit and Iznik to the elegant Ottoman
buildings of Bursa, such as Green Mausoleum and Great
The whole coast of Marmara is lined with sandy beaches.
The mountainous, forested Southern coast of Marmara is
particularly beautiful. The highest peak bordering South
coast is that of the pine-clad Uludag (2543 m), the
ancient Mountain Olympus of Mysia. The mountain overlooks