The Hippodrome

The square in front of The Blue Mosque, Hippodrome was one of the most famous areas in Byzantine Constantinople. The original Hippodrome was constructed in 200 AD. by Emperor Septimus Severus.The Hippodrome was the heart of the civil activities. Propaganda activities, rebellions, fights and eventually chariot races took place in this area. The Hippodrome continued to serve as a sports center as well as a gathering place of the people for centuries during the Byzantine Era. Ottomans used for the same purpose as well as using a horse racing place.

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There are various monuments in Hippodrome Area. The most attractive one is the “Egyptian Obelisk”. This building was originally constructed by Pharaoh Tutmosis III (1549-1503 BC). It was 200 feet high and weighed 800 tons. When shipped from Egypt to Constantinople, it was split into three and only the very top of it survived. It was erected to Constantinople during the reign of Theodosius I in 390. There is a marble base with sculptured relief’s representing the Emperor’s watching of chariot races with his family. The obelisk is made of pink granite and it depicts Pharaoh Tutmosis III with Sun God Amon Ra.

Another monument in Hippodrome Area is so-called “Serpentine Column”. The three intertwined bronze serpents form the column. This column was brought from the Temple of Apollo, Delphi Greece.

The third monument in this area is called as “Colossus” or “The Column of Constantine”. This column looks much more eroded and the purpose is thought to have a parallelism with the Egyptian Obelisk.

The last monument in Hippodrome Area is the “German Fountain” or “Fountain of Kaiser Wilhelm II”. It is an octagonal building with water taps around which was constructed in 1898. There are lovely mosaics which depicts the signatures of Wilhelm II and Sultan Abdulhamit II inside the fountain.

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