Istanbul's Must-Visit Destinations: The Allure of Pierre Loti Hill
Pierre Loti Hill: A Golden Gaze over Istanbul's Historic Horn
Perched high above the magnificent curve of Istanbul's Golden Horn, Pierre Loti Hill is more than just a vantage point; it's a gateway to history, literature, and unmatched panoramas. Named after the famous French novelist and naval officer, Pierre Loti, who found solace and inspiration amidst its verdant slopes, this hill has long been a haven for dreamers and wanderers alike. As the heartbeats of Istanbul echo from its bustling bazaars, ancient mosques, and timeless neighborhoods, a visit to this venerated spot offers a respite, a moment to breathe, and an unparalleled perspective of the city's intricate dance between the past and the present. Join us as we ascend its heights and delve into its stories, capturing the essence of Istanbul from a viewpoint like no other.
Café Pierre Loti: A Historic Retreat
Pierre Loti Hill: A Panoramic Escape Above Istanbul's Golden Horn
Nestled in Istanbul's historic Eyup district along the banks of the Golden Horn, Pierre Loti Hill stands as a testament to the seamless blend of history, culture, and scenic beauty. Just adjacent to the iconic Eyup Sultan Mosque, this famed hill, with its viewing café, beckons both local enthusiasts and global explorers to embrace its allure.
At the café, guests are invited to savor the rich flavors of Turkish coffee or tea, all while basking in the unparalleled vistas of the Golden Horn. As they indulge, the binoculars at the viewing terrace offer an even more intimate look at the city's tapestry. Pierre Loti Hill carries the legacy of the esteemed French novelist and traveler, Julien Viaud, better known as Pierre Loti. He once found solace and inspiration in this very location, crafting his narratives with Istanbul as his muse.
Attractions of Pierre Loti Hill
In a concerted effort to enrich Istanbul's tourism landscape, the city's municipality took over the properties on Pierre Loti Hill in 1997. Today, where once abandoned houses showcased remnants of Ottoman-Turkish architectural splendor, meticulously crafted wooden mansions now stand, offering modern hospitality with an old-world charm.
The Cable Car Experience
For those journeying to Pierre Loti Hill, the cable car service, operated by IBB, presents a novel approach. While private vehicles can take you to the hill, the charm of gliding in a cable car, absorbing the city's sights from this unique vantage, is unparalleled. Once atop, the serene ambiance and the captivating view of the Golden Horn provide the perfect backdrop for contemplative moments over a cup of coffee.
Golden Horn: Istanbul's Lustrous Bend
The Golden Horn remains one of Istanbul's crowning attractions. Yet, its true beauty unfurls from the heights of Pierre Loti Hill. The journey to the hill, especially when approached from Gaziosmanpaşa, is a revelation in itself. Photographers and enthusiasts alike contend that this is the pinnacle spot for capturing the city's essence. And for those seeking more than just a view, the hill offers boutique hotels and dining experiences, including the renowned restaurant, Azade. However, a word to the uninitiated: the hill and its descent to the Golden Horn are adorned with an expansive, historic cemetery. Those wary of such sites might approach with discretion.
Matching its grandeur on the European side, Pierre Loti Hill stands parallel in charm to the famous Ulus Café, offering vistas reminiscent of the Çamlıca Hill vistas against the Bosphorus on the Asian side. Both beckon with a promise of Istanbul, not just seen, but truly experienced.
Istanbul's Premier Viewpoint: Exploring Pierre Loti Hill
Pierre Loti Hill: A Historical Vantage Point Over Istanbul
Pierre Loti Hill, with its iconic observatory and café, offers a magnificent vantage point over Istanbul's stunning Golden Horn. This historically rich location was once frequented by the renowned French novelist, Pierre Loti, who saw Turkey as his adopted homeland. Here, overlooking the Golden Horn, he was inspired to pen his celebrated novel, "Aziyade".
Previously known as the "Coffe of Rabia Kadın", this spot has now been meticulously restored to reflect its quintessential "Turkish quarter" essence. The revered traveler and writer, Evliya Çelebi, has mentioned this region as the "İdris Mansion Promenade" in his travelogue. Surrounding Pierre Loti Hill are architectural gems that have captivated foreign travelers for over a century. Among them is the wooden Kasgari Lodge, which boasts two inscriptions from 1813.
As you enter the facility, a round white tombstone inscribed in Persian marks the location of the Çolak Hasan Lodge, positioned strategically at the intersection of three roads. Adjacent to this is a historical building which now serves as a Primary School. Within the same vicinity, the tomb of a Mevlevi, known as "Iskender Dede" who passed away in 1589, stands as a testament to the area's deep-rooted history. He rests near the establishment, built by İdris-i Bitlis, a notable figure in Ottoman historical writings.
One of the intriguing sites here is the renowned Wish (or Intention) Well. Evliya Çelebi's travel writings vividly describe how those who peer into this well might glimpse their deepest desires. Beyond this well, the resting places of Palace dignitary Ali Ağa and his kin can be found. Amidst these historically significant landmarks, one also discovers the "Cistern", believed to have been erected during the Byzantine era and later utilized during the Ottoman reign.
Pierre Loti Hill in Istanbul: History, Significance, and How to Get There
The Legacy of Pierre Loti:
Pierre Loti Hill, nestled in the Eyüp district, offers a panoramic view of the Golden Horn, especially during sunset. This picturesque spot takes its name from a renowned French author. But who was Pierre Loti?
Behind the pseudonym "Pierre Loti" lies Louis Marie Julien Viaud, born on January 14, 1850, and passing away on June 10, 1923. The origins of his pen name are a subject of debate. Some believe that during his student years, Viaud adopted the name, while others argue it was a moniker bestowed upon him by Tahitian natives during his Oceania expedition in 1867. Regardless of its origin, "Loti" finds its significance in literature as a name for an exotic flower thriving in tropical climates.
Location of Pierre Loti Hill:
Perched above the Eyüp Sultan Mosque, Pierre Loti Hill is situated in Istanbul's Eyüpsultan district on the European side. From this vantage point, visitors are treated to mesmerizing views spanning both sides of the Golden Horn - encompassing Beyoğlu and Fatih. Dominating the skyline of the historical peninsula are mosque domes and towering minarets. With the aid of binoculars at the observation deck, landmarks like the Fatih Mosque, Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, Beyazit Tower, Hagia Sophia Museum, and Topkapi Palace can be glimpsed in the distance.
Navigating to Pierre Loti Hill:
For those with private transportation, starting at the Eyüp center and following the brown Pierre Loti direction signs is the route to go. Alternatively, bus travelers can take any bus route leading to Eyüp. Upon reaching the vicinity of the Eyüp mosque, a cable car service provides easy access to the hill, elevating visitors to the summit and its unparalleled views.
Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari (Khaled Bin Zayed) Tomb & Mosque
Eyüp Sultan Mosque: A Historical Beacon of Istanbul
Constructed in 1458, a mere five years after Istanbul's monumental conquest, the Eyüp Sultan Mosque stands as an ever-increasing focal point of attraction for visitors. The mosque's significance is amplified by the neighboring tomb of Eyüp Sultan, which predates the mosque itself. Situated in the Eyüp district along the tail end of Istanbul's Golden Horn coast, the mosque complex encapsulates a rich historical tapestry. This includes the tomb of Eyyub Al-Ansari and additional establishments such as a madrasah, soup kitchen, bathhouse, and more. While the ravages of time took their toll on the mosque, it was Sultan Selim III who initiated a comprehensive reconstruction, preserving only the minarets and foundational structures. This renewal was completed in 1798.
Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari's Legacy
Eminently recognized as Eyüp Sultan, Abu Eyyûb Halid bin Zayd or Ebu Eyyûb El-Ensari was an illustrious Companion. Notably, he was the first to host Prophet Muhammad upon his migration from Mecca to Medina, earning him the esteemed title of the prophet's host or 'mihmandar-i prophet'. In his later years, during the siege of Istanbul, he was martyred. Legend posits that he wished to be interred beneath the walls of Istanbul, a desire that Akşemsettin allegedly fulfilled through spiritual guidance. Today, a mausoleum in his honor stands in the Eyüp district, bearing both his name and the mosque's.
The Philosophy of Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari
Abu Ayyub's stature was unparalleled, both in virtue and spiritual profundity. As a devout Companion mentored by the Messenger of Allah, he was fiercely committed to upholding the sunnah. Even during the Islamic army's siege on Istanbul, he quoted a hadith from the Prophet Muhammad: "A virtuous person shall find his resting place beneath the walls of Constantinople." He expressed hope to be that very individual.
Even in the heat of battle, the Islamic army, under the leadership of Yazid, accorded Abu Ayyub's coffin the highest respect. When the Byzantine commander queried this reverence, Yazid responded with the Companion's dying wish to be interred deep within Byzantine territory. Witnessing this commitment, the commander pledged to safeguard the grave. In time, a dome was erected over Abu Ayyub's final resting place, transforming it into a revered sanctuary for both Muslims and Christians. This reverence stems from a heartfelt prayer by the Prophet Muhammad himself, who once said about Abu Ayyub: "O Allah, protect Abu Ayyub as he spent the night protecting me.