When September comes, all of Thrace looks forward to the Pavli Fair, which is the oldest fair in Thrace dating back to the Ottoman Empire.
The Pavli Fair began in the Ottoman Empire in 1910 with the order of Sultan Abdulhamid II. Every year since then, people have looked forward to the annual event which takes place in September.
Although the fair was cancelled last year due to Covid-19, this year was different as people gathered to mark the 111th Pavli Fair on September 9. It will last for four days until September 12.
The purpose of the fair is to bring the locals together to celebrate their culture, history, and friendships. It reinforces unity among the people of Thrace.
Pavli is the old name of Pehlivankoy, the district in Turkey’s Kirklareli that hosts the fair.
Each year, thousands flock to the site between the Pehlivankoy Train Station and the Ergene river. The site is filled with sales counters, outdoor dining spots, and an amusement park.
When the fair begins, the surrounding villages turn into ghost towns. Tourists from Turkey and abroad attend the fair as well. The Pavli Fair has around ten thousand visitors.
Villagers arrive in tractor-trailers that they prepare days before the fair. They construct a roof for their trailers using arched branches and tarpaulins.
The interior is decorated with traditional Turkish rugs, pillows, and blankets, and stocked with food. Years ago, people used to travel to the site in oxcarts.
Tractor-trailers are parked around the fair with a view of the amusement park. In front of them, the fair unfolds.
Everyone, young and old alike, enjoy all kinds of Turkish food, beverages, music, and folk-dance demonstrations. People eat, dance, play sports and enjoy the rides at the amusement park.
Over 400 tradesmen join the fair to sell their products. People can purchase foodstuffs brought straight from the fields, clothes, ornaments and even stationery.
The Pavli Fair is the event for cherishing the Thracian tradition and culture, purchasing goods, and meeting friends and family.