The city was founded eponymously by the Roman Emperor Hadrian on the site of a previous Thracian settlement known as Uskadama, Uskudama or Uskodama. Conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1362, the city served as the Ottoman capital from 1365 until 1453. Edirne is the capital of Edirne Province and its estimated population in 2002 was 128,400.
The Selimiye Mosque, built by Sultan Selim II in 1575 and designed by Ottoman master architect Sinan, has the highest minarets in Turkey, at 70.9 meters.
The area around Edirne has been the site of no fewer than 15 major battles or sieges, from the days of the ancient Greeks. In particular, the catastrophic defeat of the Roman Emperor Valens by the Visigoths took place nearby, and the city was a vital fortress defending Ottoman Constantinople and Eastern Thrace during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13. The city was, however, occupied by the Russians in 1829 and 1878, and by the Bulgarians in 1913.
On July 25, 1920 (July 12 OS), the city was liberated by the Greek Army. On the following day, King Alexander entered the city, starting a 6-day visit. Adrianople returned to Turkish rule after the Asia Minor Disaster of 1922.
The city initially took its name after its founder, and the usage remains current in Greek, though the Turks commonly use Edirne or Edreneh, and the Slavs Odrin or Jedren; all of these are probably adapted forms of the name Hadrian.