We continue our Istanbul trip and our excursion to Eyüp the site of the holiest shrine in Turkey at the top of the Golden Horn.



The entrance to the shrine is on the right in the image with the entrance to the main mosque facing the shrine across the courtyard.

The mosque and shrine were built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1458, a mere five years after the conquest.

In December 2012 the shrine was being refurbished and, as such, was shrouded in scaffolding.

However, the mosque is well worth a visit, especially the women’s balcony, with apologies to male readers who aren’t allowed up there.

Outside the mosque buildings have been demolished to create Eyüp Square, which is lined with eateries and shops selling religious artefacts. Definitely a good place to stop for tea and do some serious people watching.

Young boys are often brought here before undergoing circumcision, so look for lads in white satin trimmed with blue.

Forty years ago the mosque was also an unofficial sanctuary for injured storks, and I can recall seeing tame storks, one with only one leg, another with an injured wing, who then lived year round in the hollow plane trees in the main courtyard.

The trees are still there, but the storks are long gone.

Take a different route back to the ferry, or down to the main road if you are going to catch the bus back to Istanbul.

Eyüp is teeming with mosques and tombs many of which are architectural gems, so try to see as many as possible while you are there.

Here you can see a typical street leading from the Square and lined with tombs, mosques and their associated buildings. You can also see the cemetery stretching up the hill in the background.

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