Eyüp district of Istanbul
Eyup was established after the conquest of Constantinople, and it was Istanbul's first Ottoman Turkish settlement. The district is located just outside of the city walls on the south bank of the Golden Horn and takes its name from the tomb of Eyyub al Ensari, a companion of the Prophet Mohammed, who is believed to have died here when Arabs sieged the city in the 7th century.
Eyup began to develop shortly after the conquest, when Sultan Mehmed II built a tomb over the grave of Eyyub el-Ensari and a mosque next to it after his mentor, Aksemseddin, saw the place in his dream. The first settlers were from Bursa and the first neighborhoods were named Cami-i Kebir, Kasim Cavus, Uluca Baba, Abdulvedud, Sofular, Otagcibasi, Fethi Celebi and Mehmed Bey.
The most intense period of development occurred during sultan Süleyman's rule in the 16th century. Beside the mosque, theological schools, public fountains, cemetaries, hamams) and alms kitchens were built, followed by wooden mansions and pavilions. The Tomb of Eyup el-Ensari (Eyüp Sultan Türbesi in Turkish) became a place of pilgrimage for Muslims since then.
One of the most important ceremonies of Ottoman times was the girding of swords at Eyup Sultan. The ceremony was performed with prayers and recalled the significance of the new sultan's standing. Probably this tradition came from the Byzantine period when the power of the head priest at the Leon Makelos monastery, which was located here at that time, included girding the emperor, military commander and nobles as they left for war.
The existence of Eyup's tomb attracted many Ottomans who wished to be buried here in order to be close to the saint, that is why there is a large number of cemeteries in the district. These tombstones with inscriptions are good examples of the stone-carving art. Lately, local municipality re-organized and renovated some of the cemetaries here.
Cafe Pier Loti is another popular place in Eyüp, standing on a hilltop just above the cemetaries and overlooking the Golden Horn. It's fame derives from the French writer, Pierre Loti, who used to come here to meditade and write his poems about the romantic city of Istanbul during the second half of 19th century. Today, you too can enjoy this great panorama while having your Turkish coffee or tea.
Hope to see you soon in Istanbul.