Istanbul’s Eyüp Sultan Mosque is located in the Eyüp district which is in the European section of the city and is very close to the Golden Horn. Visitors can arrive by ferry and then walk to the Iskele Caddesi, which is the major shopping road, until they reach the Eyüp Sultan Mosque.
The mosque was built in 1458. It was the first one that was built by the Turks after they conquered Constantinople in 1453. This important mosque complex has the tomb of Ayyub Al-Ansari. He was a close friend of the Prophet Muhammad and he was killed during a battle with the Arabs during the 670’s. His tomb is a very important Islamic shrine and it attracts many pilgrims.
Ayyub Al-Ansari’s grave was identified after the conquest. Sultan Mehmet II made a decision to construct a grand tomb to indicate its location. He commissioned a very large complex that became an important place where Ottoman princes would go for the Turkish “Sword of Osman” ceremony. The ceremony was held to signify their title and power as sultan or king of kings. In 1766, the Eyüp Sultan Mosque was destroyed by an earthquake. In 1800, the mosque was rebuilt by Sultan Selim III.
Visiting the Mosque
There is great doorway that enters into a courtyard that is shaded by a large tree. The mosque is on the right side. The tomb has many crystal, gold, and silver chandeliers. There are also many beautiful colored Iznik tiles in the tomb. Inside the tomb, visitors can see the Prophet Muhammad’s footprint. It is an unusual white object that has been placed in a glass display on a wall.
Women can enter the main entrance to the mosque if they are covered properly. There also is a separate entrance that is just for women. Women have to pray in a different room from the men.