If you want to get from the centre of Edirne to the district of Karaağaç, south-west of the city, it is necessary to cross two rivers - Maritsa and Tunca. The crossing is possible because of two historical bridges, located just to the north of the intersection point of these two rivers.
Walking from the city centre, you first arrive at the Ekmekçizade Ahmet Pasha Bridge, over the Tunca River, and therefore unofficially referred to simply as the Tunca Bridge (tr. Tunca Köprüsü).
This bridge was built between 1608 and 1615 by an architect from the territory of present-day Albania, called Sedefkar Mehmed Ağa. He arrived in Istanbul in 1563, most likely as a member of the janissary corps. After the military service, he specialised with inlay in mother-of-pearl, gaining the surname Sedefkâr (worker in mother-of-pearl). Later, he took up architecture and studied under famous Mimar Sinan, in time to become his assistant. In 1606, Mehmed Ağa was awarded the title of the Sultan's architect, and the culmination of his career was the construction of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, widely known as the Blue Mosque.
The construction of the bridge over the Tunca River was commissioned by Ekmekçizade Ahmet Pasha who was a defterdar (Minister of Finance) of the Ottoman Empire between 1606-1613. The chief architect of the city of Edirne - Mimar Hacı Şaban - assisted Mehmed Ağa in the construction of the bridge. The result of their joint work is considered to be the most beautiful bridge in Edirne, clutching the banks of the "river of gold and silver".
The bridge is supported on eight arches. Two of them were damaged during the Second World War, when the Nazi troops were stationed only a few kilometres from the centre of Edirne, on the other side of the river. The destroyed part of the bridge was reinforced with a temporary steel structure, and in 2007 the bridge underwent a complete renovation.
After crossing the Tunca Bridge and walking about 400 meters along Lozan Street, the road brings you to a bridge over the Maritsa (Meriç) River. This structure is called the New Bridge (tr. Yeni Köprü) or the Maritsa Bridge (tr. Meriç Köprüsü).
The name of this bridge is somewhat misleading, although it is actually the newest of the Ottoman bridges in Edirne. Still, it is a historical structure. The decision to construct it was made in 1832, during the visit of Sultan Mahmud II in Edirne. He decided that the existing wooden bridge was not a good enough solution.
However, due to financial problems, the construction of the bridge began only ten years later, under the reign of the sultan Abdulmecid I. The construction was completed in 1847. The commemorative inscription, placed on the bridge, was destroyed during the Greek occupation of Edirne in the years 1920-1922.
At present, the New Bridge, supported 12 arches, is famous among Edirne residents as the place to admire the most beautiful sunsets.
Both bridges are situated to the south of Edirne's historical centre. Take a walk along the main pedestrianised alley of the city - Saraçlar Street - to the south and turn into Lozan Street. If you continue the walk after crossing the bridges, Lozan Street will take you to Karaağaç district.