Centuries ago when the Ottoman Turks successfully conquest Constantinople, Eyup was their first Turkish settlement. Located just outside the city walls and near the Golden Horn, Eyup has a perfect location, then and now. The name Eyup itself comes from Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, a friend of Prophet Muhammad SAW.
Fast forward to 21st centuries, I happened to lived in the Constantinople, which have changed the name to Istanbul. On the sunny day of my winter break, I went there and explore the area as I reminisced the history.
Eyup Mosque & Abu Ayyub al-Ansari Tomb
Eyup Mosque is the first mosque constructed by the Ottoman Turks in Istanbul in 1458. After the Arabs sieged the city in 7th centrury, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari fell ill and die. In his last word, he asked his soldiers to bury him under the walls of Constantinople. Sultan Mehmet II who conquer the Constantinople then built a tomb and mosque to honor Abu Ayyub al-Ansari.
That day, the courtyard of the mosque was so full of people. I didn’t know if it was because of weekend or there was some kind of event there, since I saw some kids wore a costume. Despite the crowd, I felt the mosque area was really charming. Water fountain, trees, birds, people, shops, and cafe makes the mosque’s courtyard very picturesque.
Since the mosque was really full, I decided to stroll around the area first. Next to the mosque, there was an alley with a lot of shops, more like a bazaar. I bought some shawls to my Mom back home. My friend bought a really beautiful tasbih. There were also many shops that sell soaps and natural body care. In the same alley, more there were tombs where Ottoman Sultans, religious person, commanders were buried. At the end of the alley, I suggest you to turn right to another alley filled of colourful cute houses.
I then visited Abu Ayyub al-Ansari tomb. The tomb located in the left side of the mosque. All the visitors need to queue first. I then notice that all the women wore hijab while entering the tomb, so to respect, I wore one too. Thank God I just bought shawls, so I put it on. The queue was pretty long and stuffy and gotten worse because many old women were impatient. The tomb itself located inside the mosque and there were a barrier. All of the visitor only allowed to be outside the barriers and send their prayers. Some of the personal belongings of Prophet Muhammad SAW are also there.
Pierre Loti Cafe
Who is Pierre Loti? I also wondered this name, why a name become a popular area and cafe. Google told me that Pierre Loti was a French novelist and naval officer who fell in love with Turkey. His novel ‘Aziyade’ was entitled for his love, an Ottoman woman named Aziyade itself. It said that the novelist came to this area a lot to drink coffee and write, so it named after him.
Pierre Loti Cafe located in Eyup area as well. To go there from Eyup Mosque, you could walk the tomb hill or took teleferik (cable car). Of course, I chose teleferik, because it’s Navia y’all! Eventho I need to queue for almost an hour, but I feel like I need to get in those teleferik, feel the atmosphere and drink a tea in one of the most picturesque cafe in Istanbul. Btw to use the teleferik, you can use your Istanbul Kart and it costs no fortune.
The teleferik ride wasn’t even 5 minutes, but I enjoyed the scenery. When I arrived there, I immediately went to the the cafe. There are so many cafe you can choose there, but people always opt for the outdoor cafe. Sadly, that day was really crowded. I waited for almost 30 mins to get table only to drink tea! I walked back and forth with a sad face begged for them who sits in the chair to switch, but no one cares! I felt really upset and gave up the tea session. I am so upset, I don’t even bother to take the photos of the cafe.
Thank God the Pierre Loti Hills has so many lovely corner to take photos. Believe me, the view from there was really stunning. Istanbul from uphill was enchanting. When the sun almost set, I went back and chose to walked down the hill. The road itself was a cemetery complex, but I do not get a scared feeling at all. Me and my friend even stopped so many times to take pictures or just to sit beside the tomb.
I will be back tho to Eyup and Pierre Loti. Maybe when the winter ends and flowers starting to bloom.