Guide to SKOPJE

Eyup and Pierre Loti Café in Istanbul


See into the heart and soul of true Istanbul with Balkon3

If you have seen everything in the European part of Istanbul, such as Taksim square or elegant Beyoglu, the noisy Bazaar or the tranquil Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, it is time for a visit to the real tea_balkon3

What I mean by the real Istanbul is its heart and soul which lay outside the old city walls on top of the Golden Horn where Pierre Loti fell in love with the city and decided to stay here forever. I write this article to take you to the place where probably no guide will ever show you and that is Eyup district in Istanbul.

You may be wondering how to get there, well, you can use public transport from Eminonu bus station. There is a direct bus line to Eyup (bus number 99) but you should know that in order to use public transport you must have an electronic ticket (Akbil) which can be bought in any store. It costs 6 TL and it works on a credit system – you put money on your card and then you can use all means of public transport in Istanbul, namely the metro, trams, ferries, cable cars etc.

Besides the buses, you can reach Eyup by boat cruising down the Golden Horn, but any taxi driver can also take you there. Still, I recommend that you travel on foot which will allow you to explore the beauty of the city.Pierre Loti3_balkon3

Places to visit in Eyup

If you do some research on the internet you will find that Eyup mosque comes up first but it is just one part of the city in the city, a real oriental complex with lots of things to see, so let’s start with first things first. The starting point of our tour will be the aforementioned Eyup Mosque.

According to belief, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror of Istanbul dreamed that it is the place where Eyup, a fellow of the Prophet Muhammad, was buried and decided to build a mosque. It is a sacred place that every Muslim has to visit after returning from a pilgrimage.


Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Tomb

In the courtyard of the mosque is the tomb of Mehmet Pasha Sokolovic, a very famous historical figure among Balkan peoples, who was buried in this holy place to emphasize his greatness and his rank.

This spectacular building and a holy place is not only home to Muslims, but any person with a developed sense of faith will feel like home upon entering the mosque. Here you will meet people who pray in different languages and feel the positive vibes that are spread around. Outside the mosque you will be cooled by the grand fountain decorated by many pigeons that bathe in it.

The small square near the mosque has great places to sit and enjoy the view. The area abounds with restaurants and pastry shops, so when the spiritual fervour subsides you can indulge in the culinary delights of Turkish cuisine in the form of Iskender kebab or any other type of meat in a sauce.

Eyup squere_pigeons_balkon3

Pierre Loti Café

For those who wonder, Pierre Loti is one of the greatest novelists of the first half of the twentieth century. This impressionist novelist was a French Naval officer by profession and an adventurer in constant search for unknown destinations and rare civilizations in particular.

There are two ways to get to Pierre Loti Café. You can climb the stairs that lead through the picturesque cemetery or you can take the funicular which brings you directly to the viewpoint just under the tea house.

Pierre Loti_kafe7_balkon3

If you want to enjoy a panoramic view of Istanbul then Pierre Loti Café is the place that every guide and true connoisseur of the city will point you to. Pierre Loti used to spend his days gazing at the waters of the Golden Horn. Here he found his peace and you will surely see that there is no other more spectacular view than this one.

The whole city is at the palm of your hand and early evening is the best time to enjoy it. The tea house is a charming little place, not quite exclusive and always full of smiling young people. It is a great place for sohbet (talk) and delightful apple tea.

Pierre Loti_balkon3

This is the place where the Golden Horn shines under the sun’s rays in the mornings and the evenings. It is the place which turns the harshest realists into poets who suddenly realize why this city ruled the world and yet always seems so tranquil.

If the café is full of people, take your camera, go down to the viewpoint and take a few memorable photos.

After Pierre Loti Café your tour can continue in the direction of Eminonu or you could go for a walk round Eyup exploring the fine details of Islamic architecture. You should visit the interesting Fesane complex best described as an oriental-style fair. Namely, it is a one-storey building with shops, an amusement park and pools. It is a very busy place so take the chance to go shopping for clothes, jewellery, bijou or spices but also try the tasty candy that is prepared right before you.


This is a city that reflects in the water, a city of women clad in picturesque dresses, a city full of life. What I want to recommend when visiting this part of Istanbul is to avoid coming here on Fridays during prayer time, and a word of advice – go on this tour without a guide so as to avoid the time limitations set by tour guides, simply because you really need to explore this enchanting place and feel this authentic part of Istanbul.

Enjoy a walk with Balkon 3!!!!