Beylerbeyi Mosque is one of the less-known historical buildings of Edirne that were founded by Ottoman dignitaries and statesmen and not the sultans themselves. It is also one of the oldest mosques in the city as it was erected in the first half of the 15th century.
The founder of the mosque was Sinaeddin Yusuf Pasha, the beylerbey - provincial governor - of Rumelia, as the European part of the early Ottoman Empire was called. The construction of the mosque was finished in 1428, during the reign of Sultan Murat II. The Beylerbeyi Mosque was constructed as a part of külliye - a complex of buildings, including baths, soup kitchen, and religious school. One of the hills between Üç Şerefeli Mosque and Şahabeddin Pasha Bridge was selected for its location. Yusuf Pasha's impressive shrine, recently renovated, is located in the centre of the graveyard, opposite the mosque.
The mosque was severely damaged during the invasions of the Russian and Bulgarian troops during the Balkan Wars. It is now open to prayers after a recent restoration. There is a ruined bathhouse next to the mosque that originally was a part of the külliye.
Beylerbeyi Mosque is preceded by a five-bayed porch, with massive pillars. There is a partially preserved inscription over the entrance of the Beylerbeyi Mosque. Its translation goes like this: "This Friday mosque and this madrasa in the course of time had become a ruin like the heart of the lover. Celaluddine Pasha exerted himself for its restoration: for the seekers, it came to be a mirth-increasing and pleasant place. May God accept the effort of the zealous ones and remunerate them in both worlds [...]". The inscription also gives the date of the restoration - the Muslim year 1235, i.e. 1819-1820.
The mosque was erected on the reverse T plan, with two square guest rooms on the sides of the domed central hall. These rooms, called tabhane, were waiting for the travellers who could spend the nights there during their journeys. Opposite the main entrance, there is an ornate prayer area, with a three-sided apse. It is covered by a fluted semidome.
Cemetery and Ottoman gravestones
Opposite Beylerbeyi Mosque there is a vast cemetery from the Ottoman times. It is an excellent source of information about the demographic structure of Edirne, diseases, earthquakes, occupations, arts, artisans, and general way of life in the city. Most of the officials' gravestones were made by the stone masons who worked for the government, so all of them have a beauty and reflect official styles. The Beylerbeyi Mosque graveyard has approximately 1000 gravestones with the oldest ones dated to the 15th century and majority of them from the period between 18th and 19th centuries.
The gravestones are classified into four main groups. The first one - Şahideli - is represented by standing stones with headgears for men and floral patterns for women. The second group - Pehleli - has sculpted floral motifs at the end of cylindrical gravestones. The third group - Edirnekari - is unique to Edirne and features tulip motives on the whole tombstone with two large lines of inscriptions. Finally, there are symbolic sarcophaguses with two small marble columns rising from the tomb. The cemetery has been renovated very recently.
Beylerbeyi Mosque is situated to the north of the historic centre of Edirne, on Mihrimar Camii Street. The distance from Selimiye Mosque is 750 meters.