Architect Sinan’s waterway discovered in excavations

Architect Sinan’s waterway discovered in excavations

EDİRNE – Doğan News Agency
Architect Sinan’s waterway discovered in excavations

Excavations in the northwestern province of Edirne have unearthed a waterway that the famous Ottoman architect Sinan constructed to ensure access to clean water for the former imperial capital.

Clean water that came to an inn near one of the architect’s masterpieces, Selimiye Mosque, was distributed to other mosques and neighborhoods through a water tank in the square.  

During the work that was initiated by Edirne Municipality and conducted by the Edirne Museum Directorate to reorganize Selimiye Square, the Edirne Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board asked that the Yemişkapanı Inn, which is known to have existed in the square, be unearthed. 

The remnants and the walls of the inn, which covered an area of 4,000 square meters and served as a wholesale market hall in the Ottoman era, were removed during the excavations, with further digs revealing the waterway that Sinan used to ensure the distribution of clean water to the city.  

Officials determined that the water, which came from Lalapaşa, 30 kilometers from the city center, was distributed to Selimiye Mosque through channels that were also built by Sinan before being transferred to other mosques and neighborhoods.

Waterway could still be operated

The Yemişkapanı Inn was built in 1575, Edirne Mayor Recep Gürkan said.

“We found the remnants of the inn during excavations right by the Selimiye Mosque, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List,” he said. 

“Before the construction of the inn, its infrastructure was finished. This impressed us the most. Sinan’s genius, talent, experience, engineering and architecture can be seen here. We knew that Sinan built a waterway to bring water from Lalapaşa to Edirne. We found out that the water was first distributed to Selimiye, then to Yemişkapanı Inn and to the mosques and markets in the city from there. This is a magnificent cistern. We also found hot water and channels for clean and dirty water under the inn. We want to operate this cistern again. Sinan’s system can still be operated 500 years after its establishment,” he said.

Historical Yemişkapanı Inn


The inn, which was built to the west of the Selimiye Mosque and was considered a masterpiece of Turkish-Islamic architecture, was estimated to have had 100 rooms, has turned into ruins through time and was covered with earth, subsequently becoming part of Selimiye Square.