Hippodrome 400 meters far from Orka Royal Hotel. The square in front of the Blue Mosque covers the site of the ancient "Hippodrome", one of the most famous areas in Byzantine Constantinople. The original Hippodrome was constructed in 200 AD. by Emperor Septimus Severus, when
he rebuilt the town of Byzantium. After Severus, Constantine the Great made Constantinople new capital and gave
much more importance to this area. The Hippodrome was the heart of the civil activities. Propaganda activities,
rebellions, fighting's and eventually chariot races took place in this area. The Hippodrome continued to serve as
primarily a sports center as well as a gathering place of the people for centuries during the Byzantium Era. After
the Ottomans took over, it was also used for the same purpose.
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 60 m. (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 Praraoh Tutmosis III with Sun God Amon Ra.
Another building 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 dedicated to God by the 31 Greek
cities who defeated the Persians at Platea in 479 BC. It was brought by Emperor Constantine the Great.
The third monument in this area is called as "Colossus" or "the column of Constantine Porphyrgenitus". 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. Inside the fountain, there are lovely
mosaics which depicts the signatures of Wilhelm II and Sultan Abdulhamit II, the sultan of that time.