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Thrace and Marmara

Thrace and Marmara
The once Roman province of Trakya ( Thrace ) is separated from the rest of Turkey by the Bosphorus , the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelle Straits. Edirne is close to the borders of Greece and Bulgaria and famous for its excellent examples of Ottoman architecture designed by local master architect Mimar Sinan . The region is also known for its lush, green rolling fields, vineyards and sunflower oil and seeds that are grown locally. Cities in the area include Balikesir , Bilecik , Bursa , Canakkale , Edirne , Istanbul , Kirklareli , Kocaeli , Sakarya , Tekirdag and Yalova .


This region has had been the subject of an unstable history; it was where King Xerxes of Persia in 481 BC constructed a bridge of boats across the Dardanelle Straits between Abydos and Sestos; and where the tragic love affair of Leander and Hera occurred with both of them dying in the straits; where Mustafa Kemal Ataturk won the his first big battle against the enemy in the First World War; and at Gelibolu where the battlegrounds and war graves are located which are visited annually by thousands of tourists.
Also in the region is the lively and industrial centre of Izmit , which has fruit orchards and vegetable gardens, and nearby is Hereke that is famous for its carpets. South of here is Iznik , famed in Ottoman times for its glazed tiles that adorn many mosques and tombs, and also for its Byzantine city walls. The district of Bursa is here known as the land of silk and was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, and birthplace of modern Turkish culture, and houses the Yesil and the Ulu Mosques that are two of the most important and beautiful in all Turkey . The first ski resort in the country is also here located on the mountain of Uludag that lies just south of the city.

Tekirdag has examples of beautiful Ottoman architecture, is famous for its vineyards, hosts wine festivals, and has lovely wide beaches. North of here is Gonen with its famous thermal hot springs and has the commercial port of Bandirma which is the largest in the Marmara Sea after Istanbul . Close to the city and by Lake Manyas is Kuscenneti (Bird Heaven) National Park where there are 239 different species of bird, many of which migrate from Europe and Asia during summer, and fly south before winter comes.
The coastline of the Marmara Sea has some of the most beautiful beaches and great holiday resorts that include Cinarcik , Armutlu , Gemlik , Mudanya , Erdek , the islands of Marmara and Avsa , Denizkent , Sarkoy and Silivri . There is also Yalova which is famous for its thermal springs located to the west.  

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