View of Golden Horn from Pierre Loti Cafe
Location of Eyüp in Istanbul
|Coordinates (=): Coordinates:|
|• Mayor||Remzi Aydın (AKP)|
|• Governor||Osman Kaymak|
|• District||223.78 km2 (86.40 sq mi)|
|• District density||1,600/km2 (4,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
Eyüp (pronounced [ˈejyp]) is a municipality (belediye) and district of the city of Istanbul, Turkey. The district extends from the Golden Horn all the way to the shore of the Black Sea. Eyüp is also the name of a prominent neighborhood and former village in the district, located at the confluence of the Kağıthane and Alibey streams at the head of the Golden Horn. The Eyüp neighborhood is a historically important area, especially for Turkey's Muslims.
Although this area lies outside the city walls, the village pre-dated larger Istanbul since two local streams provided plenty of fresh water. In the Byzantine period, the village was known under the name of Kosmídion (Κοσμίδιον in Greek), and got its name from a church and later a monastery, both dedicated to Saints Cosmas and Damian, which were built on the steep hill behind today's Eyüp Mosque. The monastery was later fortified, and during the First Crusade it hosted the army of Godfrey of Bouillon during his sojourn in Constantinople.
The area has long been used as a place of burial, largely due to its position outside the city of Istanbul. There are Christian churches and cemeteries as well as a large Muslim burial ground, the Eyüp Cemetery. The major Muslim shrine gives the area its current name and prominence.
During the Ottoman civil war known as the Ottoman Interregnum, the Battle of Kosmidion (Turkish: Eyüp Muharebesi) took place in 1410 in the area between the brothers, the princes Musa Çelebi and Süleyman Çelebi.
Mosque and türbe of Ayyub al-Ansari
The name Eyüp comes from Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, the companion and standard bearer of the Prophet Muhammad. Abu Ayyub came to Constantinople with the Arab army during the first attempted Muslim conquest of the city, died, and as his last request was buried there. Seven centuries later, during the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, the tomb was said to have been re-discovered by Ak Şemsettin, the spiritual mentor of Mehmed II.
After the city was taken, Sultan Mehmet ordered a tomb (türbe) constructed over Abu Ayyub's resting place and a mosque, the Eyüp Sultan Mosque, constructed in his honor. The first major mosque to be built in Istanbul, it was surrounded by a traditional complex including a bath, school, and kitchen.
From that point on, Eyüp became a sacred place. Relics were displayed in the tomb, including a stone said to bear the footprint of the Prophet Muhammad. More mosques, schools, tekkes, and fountains were built, and since many Ottoman officials wished to be buried near Abu Ayyub's resting place, the cemetery became one of Istanbul's most desirable.
At the height of the Ottoman Empire, Eyüp was one of the most recognized urban areas outside the city walls.
Eyüp during the Industrial Revolution
During the 17th and 18th centuries, Istanbul grew as the fringes of the Ottoman Empire became unsettled and refugees from Turkish communities in the Balkans and the Caucasus came to the city. During this period the Eyüp area was incorporated into the city, losing some of its spiritual air as factories were built along the Golden Horn. The first of these was the Feshane, the factory beside the Golden Horn where fezzes were manufactured for the Ottoman armies. The Feshane is today an exhibition center owned by the Istanbul municipality.
In the meantime, industry, the growing population, and the continuing flow of pilgrims encouraged the growth of the shopping district around and behind the mosque. The streets behind had fish and dairy markets, shops, cafes and bars for residents of the area, while the courtyard of the mosque itself had people selling scriptures and prayer beads to visitors.
From the mid-20th century onward, the area took on a more "working class" feel as wealthier residents of Istanbul preferred to buy housing on the Asian side of the city or along the Bosphorus, since the Golden Horn was becoming increasingly polluted and unpleasant due to industrial development. The industrial zone expanded as major roads were built through the Eyüp area. The market gardens and flower fields of Alibeyköy disappeared.
In recent years many of the factories have been closed or cleaned up, the Golden Horn no longer smells so bad, and it is possible to sit by the waterside. The area has also increasingly attracted conservative Muslim families.
The Eyüp Sultan Mosque continues to draw tourists visiting Istanbul, as well as larger numbers of Turkish religious pilgrims. At Friday prayer and throughout Ramadan, the area is full of visitors from all over the city. Pilgrims to the mosque include a wide range of Muslims, especially before weddings or circumcisions.
In recent years, a thriving market has grown around the mosque selling prayer mats, beads, dates from Saudi Arabia, scented oils, Islamic books, recordings of Koran recitation, and other items. On Fridays, a marching band plays Ottoman military music, mehter, giving the area around the mosque a carnival atmosphere with an Islamic twist. In Ramadan, the area in front of the mosque is taken over by large tents where food is served at the evening fast breaking.
The main building of the 2010-established Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University is situated in a historic building in Eyüp.
A gondola lift brings visitors from the shore of the Golden Horn up to the outdoor Pierre Loti Café (Turkish: Piyerloti Kahvesi), a popular spot offering a panoramic view of the Golden Horn, named after the 19th-century French writer Pierre Loti (pseudonym of Julien Viaud), who wrote two novels based on his stay in Istanbul.
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- "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
- Janin, sub voce.
- "Eyüp-Piyerloti Aerial Cable Car Line". İstanbul Ulaşım. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- Janin, Raymond (1966). Constantinople Byzantine (in French) (2 ed.). Paris: Institut Français d'Etudes Byzantines.
- Türkmenoğlu, Şener (2005). Eyüp Bir Semt'e Gönül Ver (in Turkish). ABC Kitabevi.
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