Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Hippodrome, Istanbul, Turkey

The Hippodrome was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople during Byzantine times.  Today is is also known as Sultanahmet Meydanı (Sultan Ahmet Square).  The word Hippodrome comes from the Greek words for horse ( hippos) and path or way (dromos).  Horse racing and chariot races were popular sports held in Hippodromes.

The first Hippodrome at this site was built when the city was called Byzantium, since then it has been rebuilt in AD 203 and AD 324 by 1453 it had fallen into ruin, but fortunately was never redeveloped and today is carefully looked after by the Turkish authorities.  The course of the old track has been covered in block paving to indicate its position.


Here you can see the German Fountain - The Kaiser Wilhelm Fountain, in a neo-Byzantine style.  It was constructed by the German Government in 1900 to mark the 1898 visit of German Emperor Wilhelm II to Istanbul.

Through one of the arches of the fountain you can see the Obelisk of Thutmose III and the Walled Obelisk.


Behind and just to the side of the German Fountain you can see the Firuz Ağa Mosque.

All Images Copyright 2000-2012 Janice Parr


The Firuz Ağa Camii (Mosque) is an old Ottoman mosque, it was build by Firuz Ağa the Head Treasurer of Sultan Beyazıt II in 1491.  Firuz Ağa's marble sarcophagus can be found in the mosque complex.


This building constructed in 1524 was the palace of İbrahim Paşa, who was the Grand Vizier (Greatest Minister) to Suleiman The Magnificent.  Today it is the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum.

All Images Copyright 2000-2012 Janice Parr

Here you can see the Obelisk of Thutmose III.  It was originally erected at the Temple of Karnak in Luxor during the reign of Thutmose III in around 1490 BC.  In 390 Ad Theodosius The Great brought it from Egypt in three pieces.  The piece you see today is just the top section mounted on a marble pedestal during Theodosius's reign.


Here you can see the Obelisk of Thutmose III in the foreground, with two of the Blue Mosque minarets towering over head.

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