Kusadasi Private Ephesus Tours


Roman Hippodrome Istanbul

Hippodrome was a circus that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydanı (Sultan Ahmet Square) with only a few fragments of the original structure surviving. It is sometimes also called Atmeydanı (Horse Square) in Turkish.

The word hippodrome comes from the Greek hippos , horse, and dromos , path or way. This used to be the place where chariots and horses were racing during Byzantian era and later during Ottoman era Cirit (an ancient Turkish game played with horses) was played in this area. There are 4 interesting spots to check in Hippodrome. The first one is the German Fountain with beautiful details. The second one is the obelisk from Egypy. The third one is the Serpents Column and the last one is Walled Obelisk. While visiting the main attractions suh as Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia or Blue Mosque, you can give a break to see the Hippodrome.

Now a part of Sultanahmet Square, the Hippodrome was once one of the largest tracks in the ancient world - second only to the Circus Maximus in Rome. It is now a landscaped park following the road from Sultanahmet Mosque to Hagia Sophia. Its construction started in 203 AD. The Hippodrome is now an open-air museum displaying relics of ancient and not so ancient times. The oldest is the Egyptian Obelisk from the 15th century BC and brought from Egypt by the then Emperor Theodosius I. It is made from pink granite and was originally 32.5 metres high. It was reduced to 20 metres for transportation and now sits on a marble plinth. The plinth was constructed in 389 AD and depicts scenes of the activities of the Hippodrome.The column of Constatntine dates from the 10th century and its 32 metre height was covered with decorated copper and brass. This was removed during the invasion of the 13th century and used to make coins.The latest structure in the Hippodrome is the Kaiser Wilhelm or German Fountain. It ws a gift from the Kaiser in 1898 as he was impressed by the hospitality he received upon his second visit to Turkey.

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