Language variant : Eyüp Sultan Camii
Architect : Mehmed II (The Conqueror) (commissioner)
Locality : Istanbul
Country : Turkey
Building style : Ottoman architecture
Project on the map (green arrow)
“Eyüp Sultan Camii stands about ½ km from the Eyüp jetty. It is the holiest shrine in Turkey because it is the supposed burial place of Eyüp Ensarî, one of the small groups of Companions of the Prophet, and his standard-bearer. The glow of legend, rather than the clear light of fact, illumines the life of Eyüp Ensarî, but he is believed to have taken part in the first Arab siege of Constantinople in 674 to 678, in which he was killed and buried outside the walls. Later legends assume a more artificial glow, maintaining that the tomb was lost until miraculously re-discovered just before the Conquest of Constantinople in May 1453 – resolutely ignoring the fact that several Arabs who visited Constantinople in later Byzantine referred to it.
According to Evliya Çelebi a week was spent searching for the tomb. ‘At last Akshemsuddin [the şeyh ül-Islam] exclaimed, ‘Good news, my Prince, of Eyyub’s tomb,’ and thus saying he began to pray and then fell asleep. Some interpreted this sleep as a veil cast by shame over his ignorance of the tomb; but after some time he raised is head, his eyes became bloodshot, the sweat ran from his forehead, and he said to the Sultan, ‘Eyyub’s tomb is on the very spot where I spread the carpet for prayer-‘ upon this, three of his attendants, together with the Sheikh and the Sultan, bean to dig the ground, when at the depth of three yards they found a square stone of verd-antique on which was written in Cufic letters: ‘This is the tomb of Eba Eyyub.’ They lifted the stone and found bellow it the body of Eyyub wrapped in a saffron-coloured shroud, with a brazen play ball in his hand, fresh and well preserved.’
Whether or not the tomb was found by such a miracle, Mehmet the Conqueror built the first great shrine on this spot just five years after the Conquest. By the late 18th C. the mosque was in ruins, probably toppled by the great earthquake of 1766 that destroyed Mehmet the Conqueror’s other mosque in the city, Fatih Camii. In 1798 Selim III ordered it to be demolished, apart from a minaret built earlier that century by Ahmet III, and a new baroque mosque to be built in its place. It was completed in 1800.”
Jane Taylor, Imperial Istanbul (Iznik – Bursa – Edirne), Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1989, pp. 182-183.
Ed. Adzhoa Makkonen