Battle of Sirp Sindigi 1364 | Excellent Trick by the Ottomans | Edirne Became the Capital | Bulgarian Empire Decline
In 1364 CE, an Ottoman host in the command of Haci Ilbey invaded a Serbian host allied with the Crusaders at the banks of the Maritsa River. It was a sudden raid at night. The Serbian army was destroyed by the Ottomans that’s why the name as Sirp Sindigi, destruction of the Serbs (“Sirp” means destruction and “Sindigi” for Serbians). Crusader’s purpose of this battle was to eradicate the Ottomans from Balkans (Europe).
When Ottomans conquered Adrianople (present-day Edirne) in 1362 CE and made it the capital of the Ottoman Empire, the road to Europe was opened now. Turkish people started immigrating towards those areas like Thrace. After this victory, Ottomans invaded Serbians, Bulgarians, and the Byzantines lands. All this intrigued other empires of Balkans (Europe) for counteraction. In 1363 CE, a Byzantine commander in Plodive after being defeated by the Ottomans fled to Serbia. He encouraged the Bulgarians and Serbians to attack the Ottomans which were less in number because their forces were busy in some other campaign. So, there created an alliance of Bulgarians, Serbians, Hungarians, Bosnians, and Wallachians with the encouragement of Pope Urban V to throw the Ottomans out of the Balkans.
After creating an alliance of 30,000-60,000 crusading warriors, they invaded Adrianople. At that time, Sultan Murad I was fighting the Byzantine in Biga, Canakkale. Some warriors were accompanying Lala Sahin and most of them were in Asia Minor. So, Lala Sahin asked Haci Ilbey to be the commander of 1,000-1,500 warriors and create hindrance for the allied army. But the alliance succeeded in crossing the Maritsa River and reached Sarayakpinar (previously termed as Sirpsindigi), Edirne. The commanders were very happy with this success and enjoyed the dinner early that night. They were taking it very easy to take Adrianople and even forgot to do some measures to safeguard the camp.
Haci Ilbey, who was asked to monitor the allied forces and wait for the reinforcements, planned to attack the sleeping allied forces. They humorously fooled them by using two torch lights as to show they are double in number and the point is the trick was successful. So, the Ottomans attacked the allied forces in the darkness of light. The drunken allied forces thought that the Ottoman Sultan Murad I had reached there with a very large army. Some of the troops were killed and remaining fled from the battlefield. While crossing the Maritsa River, most of them drowned. Most of the drowned were Serbians. In this way, Ottomans got a decisive victory.
Some historians claimed that the Battle of Maritsa (Battle of Chernomen) and the Battle of Sirp Sindigi is same but the Turkish historians are of the opinion that both were different. They say that the Battle of Maritsa was fought to avenge by the Serbians to overcome their loss in Sirp Sindigi. Even more, both battles were fought at two different places as the Battle of Maritsa was fought in Ormenio, Greece. Because of these resources, some historians named the battle of Sirp Sindigi as the First Battle of Maritsa. In addition, the Ottoman commanders in both battles were different as Lala Sahin Pasha was leading in the Battle of Maritsa.
Lala Sahin Pasha was very much jealous of the success of Haci Ilbey. Just after one year, Haci Ilbey died being poisoned by Lala Sahin. Adrianople (present-day Edirne) was made the capital of the Ottoman Empire. it was also the decline of the Bulgarian Empire as they started paying tribute to Ottomans and the Ottomans started invading upper Bulgaria. This huge loss of Serbians became a reason for the Battle of Maritsa which was fought to avenge along with the allies.