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The Hippodrome Istanbul

The Hippodrome Istanbul
The Hippodrome, once the cultural focus of the Byzantine Empire and now the site of the city park, At Meydanı ( Square of Horses ), its historical significance predates that of most other major monuments in Istanbul.

History

The first construction of the stadium was undertaken by Roman Emperor Septimius Severus
in 200 AD and later enlarged by Constantine the Great and is estimated to have held 100,000 people. The 480m long arena was used for court ceremonies and games. Although the stadium remains well persevered the amphitheatre was destroyed when the Sultan Ahmet Mosque ( Blue Mosque ) was constructed.  

Monuments at the Hippodrome

There are various monuments spread along the length of the stadium, with columns, obelisks and statues that once decorated the spina, the elevated central axis where chariots use to race.

Egyptian Obelisk

The three ancient monuments displayed here are the 4th century Egyptian Obelisk , originally 60m high (only a third of the upper part survived the trip from Egypt) made to commemorate the campaigns of Thutmos III in Egypt in the 16th century although the scenes at its base honour its erection in Constantinople by Theodosius I.

Serpentine Column

The second monument is the Serpentine Column taken from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi by Constantine the Great has three bronze intertwining serpents, once with the heads splaying out in three directions and only one head exists today and is displayed at the Archaeology Museum.

Column of Constantine

The third monument is a massive 32m high Column of Constantine was restored and covered in gold plated bronze by Emperor Constantine Porphyrogentus in the 10th century and an inscription at that time informed that the column was already decayed. The bronze was removed and melted down by the Crusaders during the raids on Constantinople in 1204.

Location

The Hippodrome is located in the Sultanahmet district of Fatih . While you are visiting many of the historical sites in Sultanahmet area of Istanbul , we would advice you to visit the Hippodrome as well.

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