A Cup of Turkish Coffee at Pierre Loti Cafe,Istanbul

January 1, 1970

by Hendro Liu

A visit to Istanbul, Turkey  is a sojourn to a place where beauty intermingles with thousand year old civilization. One should never miss a chance to sit, relax and enjoy a cup of thick Turkish Coffee while enjoying the wonderful landscape of this city, and the best place to do this is at Pierre Loti Cafe in Eyup, Istanbul.  Located in Eyup, a district named after a friend of Muhammad, Eyup Ansari, the cafe is popularly known as a place where a French Naval Officer, Pierre Loti wrote his famous piece of novel, “Aziyade”. Aziyade retells a romantic tale between Pierre Loti and a harem girl, Aziyade. At the very place where Pierre sat down and contemplated about his amorous affair, this cafe stands. Aside of its romantic background, the cafe is better known for its commanding position overlooking the Golden Horn, a horn-shaped strait dividing the European side of  Istanbul. The scenery is stunning. The glimmering sparkles of the Golden Horn, the green pastures of the river bank along with the mosques and urban buildings form a beautiful sight worthy for visitors to sit and have a sip of its well-known coffee.

A cup of coffee in Pierre Loti

A cup of coffee in Pierre Loti

How to Reach This Place

Reaching this cafe is neither simple nor complicated. I took a tram ride from Sultanahmet to the end of the tramline at Kabatas and hop on Bus 99A to Eyup. Turkish Government has improved its transportation system and gave a significant upgrade to its bus armada. Modern buses start to replace the old rusty buses  providing a better and convenient service towards locals and tourists alike. The modern bus is provided with a computer screen and an automated loud speaker that inform the stops to the passengers. One shall not miss a stop when traveling on one of these buses. Arriving at Eyub bus stop, I followed other alighting passengers towards a big mosque located not far from the stop.

Eyub Mosque

Eyup Mosque was built over the grave of Eyup Ansari, the standard bearer of Prophet Muhammad who fell during the Siege of Constantinople by the Arabs in 700s. The mosque is considered to be one of the sacred sites in Istanbul and many Muslims come to pray or pay respect towards Eyub Ansari. The mosque itself is a feat of architecture with Ottoman style known for its dome and Iznik tiles. With a beauty of the architecture and the religious history behind it, the mosque deserves a short visit en route to Pierre Loti Cafe. Remember there are some rules in visiting the mosque ( no shorts and women should cover their heads).

Eyup Mosque

Eyup Mosque

Taking a Cable car or Walking uphill Passing a Cemetery

There are two ways to reach Pierre Loti Cafe from Eyup Mosque. One can walk uphill to the cafe or simply take a teleferik ( cable car). If time is not a problem for you, then the first option is better than the latter. Walking uphill towards the cafe offers a glimpse of Turkish Ottoman’s heritage. The neighborhood around Eyup is a centuries year old cemetery. Many of the Ottoman royal family members and commoners alike are buried here near the mosque. The tombstones are adorned with Arabic calligraphy and stone turbans signify the social status of the deceased. A short walk to Pierre Loti from this area won’t take more than 30 minutes. If walking uphill doesn’t sound appealing for you, you can take a cable car ride from Eyup Teleferik Station just behind Eyup Mosque. A short ride on the cable car will take no more than two minutes to reach the upper station which is just steps away from Pierre Loti Cafe.

Ottoman Cemetery just behind Eyup Mosque

Ottoman Cemetery just behind Eyup Mosque

The Experience

Ordering My Coffee

I took the latter option to reach Pierre Loti because of the time constraints and I need to reserve my energy for the next destination. Stepping out of the cable car station, I arrived in Pierre Loti Cafe. The cafe itself is merely several steps away from the upper station. I arrived at the cafe and delighted to see the view of the Golden Horn during the bright sunny day. However, being so popular among the locals and tourists, the cafe is usually full of its patrons who wish to have a cup of caffeine on its plaid tablecloth table. Some visitors were busy with their camera taking pictures of the magnificent view and posing as a coffee connoisseur with a cup of coffee and a great smile.I managed to secure a table at the best spot in the cafe after waiting relentlessly over a couple who seemed to have been sitting there forever. ” Sorry, we just love it here” said the man after he noticed my presence on a seat behind them. A well-dressed waiter took my order and the coffee was served in a moment. The coffee is served with complimentary cup of water to wash down the coffee aftertaste.

Enjoying A Sip of Coffee and the Scenery

Sitting on this cafe overlooking this magnificent view of the Golden Horn surely a treat to the eyes and mind. The Golden Horn with the boats moving from one side to the other and the old architecture building mingles with new urban building are laid in front of my eyes with the blue sky and white clouds as the background. The sky was shining brightly but the shades of the trees gave a protection against the summer sun and the breeze surely kept the heat at bay. I understand how the couple that sat on this very table felt. It is just an experience that no one want to end quickly. One should just sit, relax and enjoy the sip of the coffee bit by bit and cherish the scenery as every sip gets harder to drink.It’s just hard to leave after enjoying the view where Pierre Loti spent days of his life looking for inspiration for his amorous novel.

The view of Golden Horn from Pierre Loti Cafe

The view of Golden Horn from Pierre Loti Cafe

Things to know :

  • To use the public transportation in Istanbul, one should buy a transportation card called Istanbulkart. This card can be topped up with credits at machines near tram stops and it can be used to board tram,ferry,cable car, and buses.
  • Pierre Loti Cafe is usually crowded but the visitors tend to stay for a while, but be patient and make sure you get the best seat overlooking the view.




Hendro Liu

By Hendro Liu

An English Teacher and a travel addict whose interest in classical history has brought him to the Mediterranean countries (Turkey, Italy, Greece).

Read more at lonertraveller.com

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