It’s said after Mecca and Jerusalem, Eyüp is one of the holiest and most sacred places of pilgrimage in the Islamic World. Just beyond the city walls along the Golden Horn lies the district of Eyüp, named after the mosque and mausoleum of Ayyub Al Ansari, the standard-bearer of the Prophet Muhammad.
As you walk towards Eyüp’s center it’s an animated street filled with shops mostly of scarves, tespih (prayer beads) and Qurans among other items.
In addition to the shops, the street is lined with mausoleums and small cemeteries filled with tombstones.
You’ve arrived at the center when you reach the giant water fountain. Here people are gathering together, feeding the pigeons and indulging on sweets outside of the Eyüp Sultan Mosque.
Did You Know
Ayyub Al Ansari, called Eyüp Sultan by the Turks, was the friend and standard-bearer of the Prophet Muhammad. When he died during the first Arab siege of Constantinople, he was laid to rest. After the Conquest of Constantinople in 1453 his grave was discovered and Fatih Sultan Mehmet II “Mehmet the Conqueror” ordered a mosque (the first mosque to be built by the Ottomans after the conquest) and mausoleum to be built at the site of his burial. The site has become a pilgrimage for muslims from all over the world.
Eyüp Sultan Mosque is not a typical tourist attraction like the Blue Mosque, for me personally it was an experience and a privilege to walk through it. Besides it being a small space, it’s filled to every corner with worshippers so I decided to not take any photos. The interior tilework is breathtakingly beautiful and its said the stone inside is a footprint of the Prophet Muhammad.
Behind the mosque lies one of the city’s largest and oldest cemeteries. I’d recommend heading up the hill to Pierre Loti Cafe. Enjoy the scenic path and walk up the hill through the Eyüp cemetery, or enjoy a ride in the cable car.