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The residential area itself does not have its own holidays, but the municipality has moved
out there a significant proportion of the events associated with the celebration of the Week of
children and youth at the end of April. The
75 years of the Republic of Turkey
school is situated
near the blocks of flats of the first settlers from Bulgaria and our team had the opportunity to
participate in the events organized there to celebrate Children’s Day, 23
April 2010. This school
was the place where children of out-migrants from Bulgaria studied in the 1990s; currently, their
grandchildren go to school there, the third generation, those born in Edirne. Some of the teachers
we had the chance to meet had come from Bulgaria and the school can boast links established
with Bulgarian schools. The high grades of students were used as an argument denoting how
important the school was for the town of Edirne.
I.T. We do not have the tradition of each neighbourhood celebrating its own holiday.
We do not have a specific holiday. It is easier to work on projects in the new neighbourhoods,
much more difficult in the old ones.
It is easy to run a project if there is a school and educated people. It is easy in the
newly populated areas. It’s much more difficult in the historical part of town. For example,
prior to 23
April we decided to organise a Plant a Tree day. Taking into account what the
Bulgarian [families of children on exchange programmes – translator’s note, M.D.] and the
Turkish families could afford, we told the children that
they were going to plant a tree in
order to have something to come back to and check on in Edirne
[emphasis M.Z.]. As a
result, they feel involved. We chose a meadow to grow a grove and got the permission of the
governor. This is the smallest sign of rapprochement. On other occasions, we would choose
a school and do something easily seen, like a notice board for the excellent students, or we
would buy a piece of equipment. Thus, by degrees, things get done. This is what we can share
with people coming from elsewhere.
As life in the residential area is further defined by the symbolic forms that orientate living in
it here and now, the neighbourhood of the first settlers features the monument of the
Old woman
with the tulips
, a symbol of Edirne related to one of those town legends with the help of which
children socialise and identify with town space. The following narrative comes from our interview
with E.
E. Well, yes, because mimar Sinan [the architect of Selimiye mosque and other well
knownmonuments in the town and around the country – M.Z.’s note] wanted to buy the place
where the mosque is. There were only tulips there. This is where he wanted to buy land. An old
woman lived there, rather disagreeable, who didn’t want to give it up [i.e. her garden of tulips
38 E. was 18 years old in 2009. The child of out-migrants from Bulgaria, E. speaks Bulgarian and has signed up for
the preparatory course in Bulgarian at the Thracian University in order to study medicine in Bulgaria. She was asked to
draw a mental map of the town and story came up when she mentioned the new residential areas in Edirne where, in
her opinion, people from Bulgaria live.