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Uzunköprü - Museums and cultural institutions


Uzunköprü stone bridge on the Ergene River is the longest and only stone bridge in the world
connecting Anatolia and the Balkans. The bridge was built between 1426 and 1443 by head
architect Muslihiddin on the orders of Ottoman Sultan Murad II. The bridge is approximately
1306,20 meters long, 6.80 meters wide and was built at 172 water arches.
The bridge, which was made to overcome the natural Ergene River barrier, was built with cut
stones obtained from the stone quarries in the near villages on previously made wooden
bridges which were destroyed by the river waters.
Uzunköprü Stone Bridge is made with Khorasan mortar, which is made by mixing slaked lime
and baked brick crumbs and connects the stones today like cement. When the bridge’s
fundamental ends completely (1427), it is said that they waited two years for Khorasan to
become hard. During this period preparations were made for the cutting and sculpting of the
stones and after that the upper construction of the bridge was started.
There are two kinds of arches on the bridge, namely pointed and round arches. There are built
pointed and round ledges at the bridge legs made for the protecting of the bridge from ice and
tree parts during the flooding of the rapidly flowing river. Although the river Ergene flows in  the same direction, in the other direction there are built flood cleaves for achieving the architectural stability of the bridge. There are two balconies, one with measures 3.40 × 0.40m
on the 40 th and 41 st arches of the bridge and one with measures 9.40 × 0.40m on the 102 th and
103 th arches.
There are seven discharge halls on the bridge. These halls are in shape of round arches based
on the 145-154 feet. These halls are ensuring easily discharging of the water in situation of
floods and prevent the bridge from being destroyed.
The bridge, whose construction took sixteen years, has 28 human head-sized railings on the
western edge of the riverside.
The relief patterns on the keystones on the bridge arches were made to identify the areas of
responsibility of the master and worker groups that make the bridge. The team that makes the
two designs is said to have processed its own pattern on the keystone of the last belt. Because
there are a total of 18 separate keystone reliefs, it is believed that the bridge has been made by
eight different groups.
This magnificent structure, rather than the simple bridge has become a cultural and geo-
political connection point that unites different societies in a wide geography from Central
Asia to the Balkans. It carries artistic motifs suits to the elegance and superiority of the
bridge. There are geometric motifs, plant and animal figures such as lion, elephant, tulip, also
there are central or Rumi decorations on the arches of the bridge.
Also, two water mills were built, one on the right and the other on the left side of the bridge,
but unfortunately the mills do not exist anymore. By this way two water mills existed to meet
the flour milling needs of the local alms house and of the new established Ergene city.
Due to all these features the Uzunköprü bridge was nominated for UNESCO World Heritage
List in 2015. The bridge is located next to the Uzunkopru bus station and is open only to
vehicles and pedestrians.
For more information: +90 284 513 11 43 e-mail: kultursosyal@uzunkopru.bel.tr