Although it is believed to have been founded upon the construction of Eyüp Sultan Mosque at the behest of Fatih Sultan Mosque during the Ottoman reign, Eyüp was in fact settled by the Byzantine people
The oldest findings of the Eyüp quarter date back to the Roman era, unearthed in 1949 in Silahtarağa district. The famous Semistra Altar and some pieces of marble statues were found later. After a while, the tomb chambers and the grave stele from 2nd century BC, some cellars found by the treasure seekers in Alibeyköy are traces pointing the prehistoric settlements at the upper end of the Golden Horn.
Kosmidion During the Byzantine era, Eyüp and its environs was brim with hunting animals and covered with a thick forest and fauna. Thus, Eyüp was the spot used for hunting parties and countryside excursions by the Emperors. In addition, the region was housing numerous monasteries.Eyüp and its environs was a sacred district dedicated to saints named Kosmos and Damianos. Therefore, the quarter was called ‘Kosmidion’ during the Byzantine era. After the construction of the Ayios Kosma-Damianos Church, dedicated the two saints, the district became even more admired. The church was erected on the top of the hill, which houses the graveyard of today, surrounded by fortified walls. The church, which was constructed during the reign of Theodosios II (408-450), was a well-known spot of visit. It was believed that the church had healing powers. According to a legend from the 5th century, Kosmos ve Damianos were two renowned doctors, who owed their fame to treating the sick via miracles. Later these two doctors turned into religious figures and eventually recognized as saints.
One cannot get enough of the panorama of the Golden Horn from the Café named after the well-known French writer Pierre Loti, lying across the gate of the Eyüp Graveyard...
Eyüp, which was a religious center already in the past, continued to attract people for hosting the grave of Eyyub El-Ensari, during the Ottoman era.
Marble and mosaic Since the church was located outside the city ramparts, it was being ruined during every siege. Thus it underwent several restorations. In the renovation realized in the 11th century upon the order of Emperor Michael IV, the church became more dazzling than ever. With the elegant use of marbles and mosaics, the church is almost the most glittering Byzantine work. Kosmidion, which was enriched with baths, fountains, flower beds, also housed the Emperor, who moved into the region after a serious disease in 1041. The emperor was buried here. In addition, next to the monastery there was a hippodrome, (surrounded by wooden fences), where races and political shows were staged.
Leon Mokelos Monastery In today’s Feshane there was a castle and Ayios Pantelemon Church, both built for Theodora, wife of Emperor Justinianos I. Among the monasteries in Kozmidion, Leon Mokelos had an unusual priority. The priest of this small church, was given the honor to hand their swords to the emperors, commanders and nobles, before departing for wars. This process was a special ritual for all. Moreover, the enthroning ceremonies of the emperors took place in this region. They were crowned by the patriarchs.
The first mosque of Istanbul In the region, where Eyüb El-Ensari’s mausoleum lays, there was an imperial hunting mansion. In the travel books written before 13th century it is stated that a wooden bridge crossing the Golden Horn was constructed somewhere around Ayvansaray. Before Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror ‹stanbul was attacked for many times. In each attack Kosmidion was looted. The palace, monastery, church and other buildings in Eyüp were all destroyed. When Mehmet the Conqueror besieged Istanbul, the buildings in Eyüp and its environs were all knocked down. The district was brim with hills of stones, most of which were later used in the
construction of the Eyüp Sultan Mosque and Mausoleum. After the conquest of Sultan Mehmet, a Turkish community from Bursa were transferred the region for creating anew settlement. Moreover, the importance attached to the region was also expressed by the erection of the very first mosque in Istanbul.
From the civil settlements to industry In the 17th century Eyüp’s environs was full of civil buildings. Among them were Hatice Sultan Palace, (daughter of Mehmet IV), Beyhan Sultan Palace, Esma Sultan Palace... Each of these palaces is elegant samples reflecting the architectural style of the era and is ornamented with the relevant embellishments. The Tulip Period, just the rest of Istanbul, Eyüp was also full of fountains and kiosks of free drink water. During the reign of Mahmut II (1808-1839) the palace and the elite class was rather interested in Bosporus. In this period the Golden Horn fell from popular esteem. However, architectural modernization–which was a fashionable western origin trend of this period- was practiced in Eyüp as well. The old seaside palaces of the Sultans were replaced with industrial constructions. For instance, the seaside palace of Sultan Hatice was partially turned into a fez workshop, during the reign of Sultan Abdülmecit. With the addition of carpet and coarse cloth looms, the
The old seaside palaces of the Sultans were replaced with industrial constructions
Kosmidion, which was enriched with baths, fountains, flower beds, also housed the Emperor, who moved into the region after a serious disease in 1041. The emperor was buried here
palace eventually became a weaving factory. In fact, today’s Feshane was originally a seaside palace. The first electric power plant of both ‹stanbul and Turkey, which was founded in the springheads of Alibeyköy and Kağıthane streams, right before the proclamation of the republic encouraged the industrialization of the region. As time went by, the seaside palaces and summerhouses were all superseded by industrial plants and facilities.
Crown and sword The unchanging traditions of Eyüp from the Byzantine to the Ottoman eras lasted for centuries. The district was a religion center during the Byzantine era. For instance, Eyüp continued to be a religion-related attraction point, due to the tomb of Eyüp El-Ensari. Likewise, during the Byzantine era, the emperors were crowned in Eyüp, during the Ottoman reign, the padishahs were submitted their sword before the enthroning ritual.