Hippodrome of Constantinople Istanbul is located next to the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia in the Sultanahmet district.
From the Hippodrome of Constantinople Istanbul, there are only two obelisks and a bronze column left (Serpentine Column) but with a little imagination and an excellent guide explaining the history, you can imagine yourself!
History of the Hippodrome of Constantinople Istanbul
The Hippodrome of Constantinople Istanbul was built by the Roman emperor Septimius Severus around 203 of our era, among so many other constructions for the development of the city: NEVAROMA (new Rome) this name was given to show the importance economic and political of this city.
In the 4th century CONSTANTINE the GREAT emperor who planned, liberated Christianity, to change the name of the city from NOVAROMA to CONSTANTINOPLE (which means the city of Constantine) and enlarged the Hippodrome of Constantinople Istanbul in gigantic proportions (400 meters length / 117 meters wide; more than 3 and a half times the size of a football stadium) which could hold up to 70,000 people.
He carried out this redevelopment to attract the full attention of the people of Asia Minor, the Black Sea, the Balkans, the Aegean Sea; he declared Constantinople as the new capital of the Eastern Roman Empire.
A bit of imagination about Hippodrome of Constantinople Istanbul
The tanks were turning around two obelisks, the entrance was on the side of the current tram, instead of the blue mosque there was the grand palace of the Byzantine emperors, Hippodrome of Constantinople had a shape of hairpin. That’s it you see them, these brave sportsmen in their leather skirts, standing on their chariots applauded by a delirious crowd.
Archives and remains of the walls of the Constantinople Hippodrome Istanbul found in the Islamic Museum (formerly the palace of Ibrahim Pasha) on the square of the Hippodrome Istanbul.
Details of the race at the Constantinople Hippodrome Istanbul: 12 tanks in rivalry on the track, they turned 7 times anti-clockwise, there were 4 races in the morning and 4 races in the afternoon, the winner was a true hero, he won a lot of money, power, prestige, he was highly respected and important.
In the stands two opposing supporter camps, the greens: A fraction of the lower classes, the most numerous often coming from the provinces, Egyptian or Syrian artisans, traders, who supported religious concepts from the East.
The blues were the Greco-Roman fraction from wealthy families, supporting Orthodoxy.
Over the years, the adversaries adopted a military organization, and thus became real militias, which regularly clashed.
Tensions between the two factions were the source of several deadly revolts.
In 501: 3000 dead / in 532 (Sedition Nika) 80,000 dead.
Constantinople Hippodrome in Istanbul underwent a degradation over the centuries, from the 6th to the 13th century 1204 until the capture of Constantinople by the crusaders which will put an end to the chariot race.
From the Crusaders, until 1453 (the arrival of the Ottomans), the Hippodrome of Constantinople was abandoned.
During the Ottoman period, the Hippodrome of Constantinople was called AT MEYDANI (place for horses) place where games on horseback are organized.
The Janissaries’ revolt against the Ottoman Sultans started from this place, in 1826 they executed 30,000 Janissaries there during the reign of MAHMUD II.
From the capture of Constantinople, the face of the Hippodrome Constantinople of Istanbul has totally changed, the walls, the bleachers are moved for other constructions; in the 16th / 17th century instead the Palace of Ibrahim Pasha and the Blue Mosque will be built.
The main axis of the Hippodrome of Constantinople will be kept, at present it is what remains to be seen, the tourist buses have replaced the horses it is they who are turning now !
To visit at the Hippodrome of Constantinople
Coming from the side of Hagia Sophia, you can see at the beginning of the main axis a 19th century fountain, built in memory of the German emperor: Wilhelm II, hence its name The German Fountain, built according to the neo-renaissance style, on an octagonal plan it was structured in Germany, and exported by pieces to Istanbul; to be in its place today, the interior of the dome covered with mosaics rests on 8 columns of green porphyry, all around the marble basins (of drinking water).
The fate of the Hippodrome of Constantinople which was mortuary before, has nowadays become a place of festivities during Ramadan, a meal is offered for free every evening for 1 month to whoever wants, stands, crafts, shows get organized during the whole party.
The Obelisk of Theodosius of the Hippodrome
Dating from the 15th BC (the obelisk of Theodosius) coming from the EGYPT of the temple of Carnac, put in the current place on its base by Theodosius.
It measures 25 meters high, hieroglyphic writing on the 4 sides.
Serpentine Column of Hippodrome of Constantinople
One of the oldest monument in Istanbul; originally it was erected in front of the temple of Apollo at Delphi in Greece. Dating from the 5th century BC it was built from Persian weapons collected by the Greeks after their great victory.
Three snakes coiled to each other form 26 spirals 8 meters high. On the three heads there was a gold tripod and a pot in which one made magic. The tripod and pot were stolen during the trip. Towards the 17th century the heads were cut off, which earned a superstition which says that since then, the curse has been relentless on the city because of the heads of snakes because it knew 2 very big fires and an earthquake.
The Column of Constantine Walled at the Hippodrome of Constantinople
It was built in the 4th century by CONSTANTIN in a block of stones, in the 10th it was covered with golden bronze and plundered by the crusaders in the 13th, today the bronze has disappeared. The Hippodrome of Constantinople is a tourist attraction that attracts millions of visitors from all over the world every year. The visit to the Hippodrome of Constantinople Istanbul will be clearer and more understandable if it is explained by a guide who will tell you anecdotes, history, after you imagine. Otherwise this place will remain a visit without great interests, for you.
Have fun while visiting the Hippodrome of Constantinople in Istanbul!