Lonely Planet review
This important complex marks the supposed burial place of Ebu Eyüp el-Ensari, a friend of the Prophet's who fell in battle outside the walls of Constantinople while carrying the banner of Islam during the Arab assault and siege of the city from 674 to 678. His tomb is İstanbul's most important Islamic shrine.
Eyüp's grave was identified in a location outside the city walls Immediately after the Conquest, and Sultan Mehmet II decided to build a grand tomb to mark its location. The mosque complex that he commissioned became the place where the Ottoman princes came for the Turkish equivalent of a coronation ceremony: girding the Sword of Osman to signify their power and their title as padişah (king of kings), or sultan. In 1766 Mehmet's building was levelled by an earthquake; a new mosque was built on the site by Sultan Selim III in 1800.
If you arrive by ferry, cross the road from the ferry stop and walk up İskele Caddesi, the main shopping street, until you reach the mosque complex. From the plaza outside the complex, enter the great doorway to a courtyard shaded by a huge plane tree; the mosque is to your right and the tomb, rich with silver, gold and crystal chandeliers and coloured İznik tiles, is to your left. Even though women pray in a separate room to the right of the mosque, females can usually enter the mosque itself and stand at the rear if they are properly covered.
Be careful to observe the Islamic proprieties when visiting, as this is an extremely sacred place for Muslims, ranking fourth after the big three: Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. It's always busy on Fridays and religious holidays.
During your visit you may see boys dressed up in white satin suits with spangled caps and red sashes emblazoned with the word 'Maşallah'. These lads are on the way to their circumcision and have made a stop beforehand at this holy place.