On the southern shore at the far end of the Golden Horn you will find Eyup, the home to Istanbul’s holiest of shrines and where in the main square there are many stalls with all kinds of religious paraphernalia on sale. The shrine was built in commemoration of Eyüp el-Ensari, who was the standard bearer and close friend of the Prophet Mohammed, and was killed in 689 during the Ummayad siege of Istanbul.
The trade of wooden toys once flourished here and is today making a comeback; you can see examples of what used to be produced at the City Museum at Yildiz and the Toy Museum in Goztepe; the Eyup Toy Workshop, in the grounds of the Zal Mahmud Pasa Mosque, are attempting to revive this old tradition of toy making. Close by and next to the Pierre Lotti Café is a small bookshop that sells souvenirs of this famous writer along with copies of his works.
Places to Visit in Eyup
Eyup Sultan Mosque and CemeteriesThere are many mosques and dervish lodges in the area surrounding the shrine, along with graveyards full of wonderfully carved headstones. After the Eyup Sultan Mosque was built, many important people wanted to be buried close to Eyüp’s tomb, as they believed he could somehow plead on their behalf after their death, and so built their own mosques nearby. It was the same for the rich people who also arranged to be buried as close to the tomb as possible and these local cemeteries are now outdoor museums containing the best Ottoman calligraphy and stone carvings. The site the mosque has been built on was once used for the coronations of the Ottoman sultans’ where they would ceremoniously strap on the sacred Sword of Osman, the founder of the Ottoman Empire.
Mihrisah Valide Sultan Complex
Zal Mahmud Pasa Mosque
Cezari Kasım Pasa Mosque
Circumcision CeremoniesAs Eyup Sultan had a great fondness for children this area is very popular with parents who bring their sons here before they are circumcised. You will see many boys parading around in their white satin outfits and white feather crowns holding white sceptres, not unlike a wizard’s wand.
Getting to EyupFrom the shore road at Eminonu take Bus Nos. 36CE, 44B or 99 or from Taksim Bus No. 55T. The ferry runs from the Golden Horn to Sutluce and from there you walk across the Galata Bridge . Also, if you walk north along the shore, there is a cable car (telerifik) that takes you up to the Pierre Lotti Café and you walk downhill from there to Eyup’s centre.
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