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Silivria (Greek: Σηλυβρία, Turkish Silivri) is a city in Eastern Thrace, along the Sea of Marmara in European Turkey, 67 km west of Istanbul. It is the capital of a district of Istanbul Province with the same name. The city has a population of 44,530 according to 2000 census. However, the number of people living in the city, which is a popular seaside resort, increases 4 to 5 times during the summer season. It is on the highway D-100, which connects Turkey to Europe via Edirne.


Silivria, the ancient Selymbria (or Selybria), preserved its importance in every era of the history thanks to its natural harbor and its position on the major commercial roads. It was a colony of Thrace founded on a 56 m high, steeply hill east of the bay by settlers from Megara, yet the name of the town is Thracian.

Silivria is the birthplace of the physician Herodicus, and was an ally of the Athenians in 351 BC. In the early 5th century, the town was officially renamed Eudoxiopolis during the reign of Byzantine emperor Arcadius (377 - 408), after his wife Aelia Eudoxia, though this name did not survive. In 805 AD, the Bulgarian Khan Kroum pillaged the town. In the late 9th century, Emperor Michael III (839 - 867) constructed a fortress on the top of the hill, the ruins of which still remain, during an era in which the Byzantine Empire suffered attacks by Saracen corsairs and Russians.

In 1346, the Ottomans became ally of the pretender for the Emperor John VI Cantacuzenus (12921383), and helped him against his rival John V Palaeologus (13321391). The same year, Sultan Orhan I married Theodora, the daughter of John VI in Selymbria.

During the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, Silivria, along with Epibatos, stood up against the Ottoman armies, and surrendered only after the city had fallen. Selymbria extended out of the walls only during the Ottoman era, because the non-Muslim residents like Greeks, Armenians and Jews lived within the city walls, and the Turks built their houses outside the walls at the coast. While the non-Muslims were engaged mostly in growing grapes, vinification and silk production, the Turks earned their life by fishing and making yogurt. The town remained a summer resort during the Ottoman time, as it was during the Byzantine era.

On the order of Suleiman the Magnificent, architect Sinan built 1562 a stone bridge with 33 arches just west of Silivria. The historical bridge, called "Uzunköprü" (The "Long Bridge"), is still in use today, however one arch is not visible due to sedimentation.

Prior to World War I, Silivrian Jews immigrated to the town of Camaguey, Cuba [1]. Bulgarians occupied Silivria on November 16, 1912 for 9 months until May 30, 1913.

During the war, many more Sephardim in the town left as conditions worsened due to the war. Many Jews at the time were pro-Turkish, as opposed to the Greeks and Armenians of the Ottoman Empire, who instead supported the Allied war effort.

During the Greco-Turkish War (1919 - 1922), the Greeks occupied Silivria on July 20, 1920. Italians took it over from the withdrawing Greek troops on October 22, 1922. Finally, they handed it to Turkish forces on November 1, 1922 .

Historical sites

  • Silivria Castle
  • The Anastasian Wall, also known as the Long Walls of Thrace, was constructed by Byzantine emperor Anastasius I (491-518) as part of an additional outer defense system for Constantinople during the 5th century and probably was in use until the 7th century. Comparable only with Hadrian's Wall in England in its complexity and preservation, the fortification stretches some 56 km from Black Sea coast across the Thracian peninsula to the Sea of Marmara at west of Silivria.
  • Cistern

People associated with Silivri

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