Çorlu (pronounced CHOR-loo) is a large industrial town in Eastern Thrace in Turkey, with a population in 2020 of 279,251. Administratively it's a township within Tekirdağ province, but it's outgrown its regional capital. It's primarily a textile town, with other agriculture-based activities such as food processing. You'd probably only come here on business.
Çorlu is industrial, the first major town west of the Istanbul metropolitan area, astride the historic highway to Edirne, Bulgaria and Greece. In the Roman era it was known as Tzouroulos, and was fought over several times before Sultan Murad I brought it under Ottoman control. It again became a battlefield, and refuge for displaced populations, when the Ottoman Empire crumbled in the 19th century. Russia, Bulgaria and Greece all had spells of occupation before the 1923 treaty allocated it to Turkey; no surprise that the new republic placed a large army base here.
The town grew rapidly with the textile industry, winning business away from west Europe, and in the 1980s/90s it boomed, drawing in workforce and settlers from Anatolia, Bulgaria and Romania, and outstripping its infrastructure. Concrete modern blocks were thrown up everywhere and the Ottoman wooden buildings were brushed aside, sparing the earthquakes the task of demolishing them. Çorlu expanded especially to the east along the road to Istanbul, Salih Omurtak Cd. A secondary residential, retail and light industrial hub has developed 4 km east where that road meets the bypass.
Istanbul Airport (IST IATA) is best choice for its range of flights at competitive fares. There's a direct bus to Çorlu and Tekirdağ, see below.
1 Tekirdağ Çorlu Airport (TEQ IATA) (15 km east of centre), ☏ +90 282 682 40 36. The only commercial flight is from Ankara three days a week by Pegasus. Bus 13 / 2 runs to the airport but is basically for airport workers, and you'll probably need to take a taxi.
İstanbul Seyahat buses take just under two hours to Çorlu from Istanbul Avrupa station, 50 TL. Buses are hourly 06:00-19:00 with a last bus near midnight. These buses run to the Orion Mall 4 km east of town centre (see Buy) and don't venture into the congested downtown. It may be possible to buy a ticket for the central otogar, in which case your onward transfer is included.
İstanbul Seyahat buses also run every couple of hours 07:00-01:30 from Istanbul Airport (IST IATA), 85 TL. These stop another km further out, at Çorlu Ağır Bakım on D-100, as they continue to Tekirdağ.
Metro buses run round the clock from Istanbul Samandıra, taking four hours to Çorlu. Samandıra is in the east suburbs of Istanbul and you'd only come that way if flying into Sabiha Gökçen (SAW IATA) the Asia-side airport.
Elbirlik Koop minibuses run from Tekirdağ every 15 min from 06:30 to 21:00. They cost 15 TL and take 30 min. Change in Tekirdağ for buses from the Gallipoli peninsula and Çanakkale.
Dolmuşes run from near the army base in the centre of town, to the surrounding towns, coastal villages, Tekirdağ, Edirne, and even Istanbul, for not much more than the bus. Times aren't fixed, they leave when full.
Çorlu's 2 otogar is too small, and the approach streets too congested, so it nowadays serves only the local buses. It's 500 m west of town centre, an easy walk, otherwise taxis and dolmuşes await. A new edge-of-town bus station was supposed to open by April 2022.
There are two regional services daily from Istanbul Halkali at around 08:30 and 18:00, taking 2 hours via Çerkezköy. From Çorlu they continue west to Lüleburgaz, whence the morning train runs to Edirne and Kapıkule on the border with Bulgaria, while the evening train runs to Uzunköprü (near the Greek border, but with no crossing point). The eastbound trains leave for Istanbul around 09:45 and 17:30; in 2022 a single fare is 24 TL. Halkali is 15 km west of Istanbul city centre but linked by the frequent Marmaray suburban train.
The express from Sofia and Bucharest rumbles through in the small hours but doesn't stop here, the nearest stop is Çerkezköy 26 km north.
The 3 railway station is 5 km northwest of the centre.
Çorlu is on D-100 the highway between Istanbul and Europe, though O-3/E80 toll motorway nowadays bypasses 12 km north. Istanbul is 100 km east so reckon 75 min off-peak and two hours in the rush.
Walk: the centre is flat and compact. Salih Omurtak Cd is the main drag, along the historic highway between Istanbul and Edirne though D-100 now bypasses to the north. Atatürk Bvd runs across the southern part of town. You can also cycle, but no self-respecting Turkish motorist pays any regard to cyclists and you take your life in your hands.
City buses will take you around. You will need a bus card (no cash payments accepted).
Car hire is available from Budget in town centre, but you might do better renting from the airport.
- Çorlu Müftülüğü Merkez Mosque is next to the downtown otogar.
- 1 Süleymaniye Mosque, central square. This small mosque with a single dome dates from 1521, so it's 500 years old, one of many commissioned by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The interior is richly decorated, with an ornate minbar or pulpit. Its madrassah (religious school), baths and almshouses have gone. Free.
- Town Hall is one of the few older civic buildings to survive. The waxworks museum within it, opened in 2021, is not remotely worth the 12.50 TL admission.
- Çorlu Muhacir Evi is a wooden building 200 m north of main square turned into a museum of local family life, with household goods and furnishings. It wasn't open in 2021.
- Fatih Mosque west side of the centre is Çorlu's oldest building, from 1453, but is plain outside and within. It was built by Daye Hatun, the wetnurse to Fatih Sultan Mehmet Han, when her boy done good - 1453 was when he captured Constantinople / Istanbul, toppled the last bastion of the Roman Empire, and cemented Ottoman power in the region. But the mosque and its madrassah fell into ruin, and what you see now is a rebuild of 1840.
- 2 Yeni Mosque north side of the centre was a synagogue until 1970, and is little altered.
- 3 Çorlu Castle is just a smashed up, vandalised course of masonry in a bad neighbourhood. The 14th century Sultan Murad I demolished the city walls but can't be blamed for this mess.
- 4 Atatürk House east side of town is a small museum showing events of the War of Independence. You might even find it open.
- Hills to the east separate Tekirdağ province from the Istanbul metropolis. Their lanes may be suitable for cycling, as they have little traffic.
- Çorlu Street Festival is the last week in October.
Town centre has lots of convenience stores and ATMs.
1 Orion and Trend Arena are two shopping malls side by side east edge of town at the junction of Omurtak Cd and D-100.
2 Avantaj is a large retail complex 10 km north on the highway to Çerkezköy, with a strong showing of textiles and clothing. It's open daily 10:00-20:00.
You're probably destined to eat Turkish again. There's a slew of places round town centre and the main streets, all much of a muchness.
- Tea: a pleasant place to sup it is outside the cafe in Atatürk Park in town centre.
- Bars: those on Kumyol cd south of Omurtak Cd are western-style. Those on Abidin Efendi sok north of it are mostly beer-houses - drouthy places where women won't feel comforatable.
- Boza is a traditional Balkan winter drink, kind-of a sweet-and-sour wheat ale but with the alcohol content of a flat latte. It's particularly made in Velimeşe, 14 km north on the road to Çerkezköy; Öney Boza is a specialty shop near village centre.
- 1 Divan Çorlu Otel, Salih Omurtak Cd 38, ☏ +90 282 684 12 00. Clean friendly place east side of town. B&B double 700 TL.
- 2 End Glory Hotel, Muhittin, Tütün Sk 38, ☏ +90 282 651 15 00. Efficient hotel a block south of main drag. B&B double 500 TL.
- 3 Elit Hotel, Hacı Salih Sk 6, ☏ +90 282 653 86 31. Apartment hotel in town centre Double (room only) 180 TL.
- Özturk Hotel is endorsed by many travellers as the worst place to stay in town.
- 4 Bormalı Otel, Salih Omurtak Cd 1 (500 m west of central square), ☏ +90 282 652 53 77, firstname.lastname@example.org. Old building but clean and comfy, rooms have satellite TV, air-con, wifi and en suite bathrooms. Free car park. B&B double 600 TL.
- Grand Park Hotel is next to Bormalı. Guests found it noisy, and parking at some distance.
- Hilton Garden Inn is also there, in the fork between D-100 and the road into town. Mixed reviews.
The town has several rough outlying districts, such as the northwestern neighbourhood of Kore Mahallesi (populated by Roma people). You have no reason to go there.
The tap water is suspect, so drink bottled.
Air quality is poor especially in winter.
Çorlu and its approach highways have 4G from all Turkish carriers. As of Jul 2022, 5G has not rolled out in Turkey.
- Marmara Ereğlisi is the nearest beach resort, 40 km east of Tekirdağ.
- Tekirdağ has a few sights and a beach strip, but you'd mostly likely come for transport west, eg to the coast of Şarköy District.
- Edirne was once the Ottoman capital, with mosques and ancient causeways.
|Routes through Çorlu|
|Edirne ← Lüleburgaz ←||W E||→ Junctions (N / S), (E), (W) → Istanbul|