Once a village, and outside the city walls of Istanbul, Eyüp has since long grown to be part of Istanbul. It is actually named after Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, who was a close friend, follower and bodyguard of the Prophet Mohamed, one of the early adapters of Islam and part of the early Islam leadership. He fell in one of the many battles carrying Islam's banner and was buried outside the walls. Much later, in the 15th century a new mosque was built with the tomb of Ayyub next to it. It ranks fourth of sacred Muslim sites in the world, after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.
A boat ride down the Golden Horn from Eminönü takes you to the district of Eyüp. You can clearly see the extensive cemetery on the hills on the bend in the Golden Horn, and you know that you are about to arrive. Once docked, a short walk takes you to the Eyüp Sultan Camii, or Mosque of the Great Eyüp. Inside a small courtyard, an enormous tree that supposedly was planted by Mehmet the Conqueror gives shade, and the outer wall of Ayyub's tomb, completely covered by blue tiles, is strikingly beautiful. Worshippers constantly come here to pray - it is believed that prayers made here, are always accepted.
Opposite the tomb is a mosque, around the courtyard are some very high arches with typical Islamic decorations, but the main draw of Eyüp is the tomb of Ayyub al-Ansari. After taking off your shoes, you come in through a curtain, and in an adjoining room, you see the tomb. People are immersed in deep prayer, then halt at the footstep of Mohammed on display in a small glass box in the wall. They leave the room walking backwards, so as not to turn their backs on the tomb. After visiting this monumental building, it is a good idea to walk up the cemetery. Many Muslims want to be buried here, which explains the vastness of the cemetery. Furthermore, you also get goods views over the city. Higher up, you can find Pierre Loti café, named after the French novelist who lived in Eyüp.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Eyüp Sultan Mosque (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Eyüp Sultan Mosque.
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