see + do
Eyüp and the Café Pierre Loti, Istanbul
Concierge.com's insider take:
The mosque complex at Eyüp might be a bit of a trek from the center of town, but it's well worth the journey for many reasons, not least that it is one of the holiest sites in Islam (the fourth, according to some). Contained within a tomb here is the body of the Prophet Mohammed's companion and standard-bearer Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, or Eyüp Ensari, who fell in battle during the Arab sieges on Constantinople in the 670s. Not really a tourist destination, the mosque nonetheless accepts visitors, and it is advised that you observe proprieties while visiting: conservative dress and head coverings for women. Go on a Sunday, and you'll likely see numerous young boys (usually between the ages of seven and ten) dressed like little princes in white kitschy pomp, celebrating their circumcision days. Equally kitschy cream-puff brides are not a rare sight either. After you're done at the mosque, take a stroll around the surrounding shopping streets, and finish off with a climb up through the cemetery behind the mosque to the Café Pierre Loti on top of the hill. Named after a 19th-century French Romantic novelist who liked to hang out there and ponder the wonders of the Orient while looking down upon the fantastic view of the Golden Horn, it's a modest drinks-only affair; if the clamber up is too much of a haul, take the cable car instead (5 Pierre Loti Caddesi; 90-212-518-3174).
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