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Pierre Loti Café

Gümüşsuyu Balmumcu Sokak No. 1, Eyüp, Istanbul

Daily 7.00–24.00

From the bottom of the Eyüp Mosque, take the funicular or it is a ten-minute (slightly uphill) walk through the cemetery. The pay-off of the latter option is the view along the way.


This charming café named after the French novelist, naval officer and Turkophile Pierre Loti is one of the best outdoor cafés in the city and provides breathtaking views over the Golden Horn. Opened in the 1910s and lovingly restored in 1964 by Sabiha Tansuğ (the only woman to appear on a Turkish coin) in the fashion of old Turkish coffeehouses, the café offers a modest menu including basic toasted sandwiches, gözleme (a kind of Turkish pancake), soft drinks, tea and Turkish coffee. But you’re not there for the food, are you?

The origin of the café’s name (in fact, the hill it is located on is named after Pierre Loti as well) is shrouded in mystery. Legend has it that during Loti’s stay in Istanbul, he gazed from atop the hill over the Golden Horn in search of inspiration for his literary masterpiece Aziyadé, in which the main character (allegedly based on Loti himself) falls in love with an 18-year-old Circassian girl named Aziyadé. C’est très romantique!


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Horn of Plenty


The Horn of Plenty
It is a joy to explore. New universities, a new museum, and a growing band of new aficionados who have invested modest means in old houses, have created a wonderful sense of optimism. But the ancient waterfront is in the eye of the storm, with many quarters due to be bulldozed, and the threat of a hideous new marina. Enjoy it while you can.

A stunning 42 pages exploring the architecture and history of old Istanbul, from churches and workshops to shrines, mosques and museums. Fritz von der Schulenburg photographs the Mirrored Pavilion, our cover story, and Robert Ousterhout raises concerns about the future of the ancient land walls.

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