Sultanahmet Square

Sultanahmet Square was once the Hippodrome of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine empire. The Hippodrome, built by Roman Emperor Septimius Severus when he conquered ancient Constantinople in 203 CE, was used as a public arena for chariot races, gladiatorial games, official ceremonies, protests and large social events. In 330 CE, Constantine I rebuilt and enlarged the Hippodrome.

Today, the square is the heart of the Sultanahmet neighborhood. It is surrounded by the most iconic buildings in Istanbul including the Haga Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace and Museum, and the Museum of Turkish and Islamic arts. The square itself has several famous monuments including the Egyptian Obelisk, which originally dates back to 1450 BC but was only brought to Turkey from Egypt in 390 AD, the Serpentine Column, a talisman brought from the Delphi Temple in Apollo, the Colossus, and the German Fountain.


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