HIPPODROME

At one’s first glance there are two things that are particularly remarkable in the ancient monuments of the Ottomans: the choice of the site and the perfect unity of the whole. Whether or not it is in a raised place, the site always has a view of vast open spaces and however far one may look, one may see the sky. The structure as a whole is broad and imposing.

All details of the monument, however charged with multiple ornaments it may be, simultaneously contribute to a general effect that is always simple and always unique. In 324 AD, Emperor Constantine moved the seats from rome to Byzantium and renamed the city as Nova Roma (the New Rome) but public said the city of constantine as ” CONSTANTINOPOLIS ”, ordered to built Hippodrome which means Hippos; horse, Drome; Square, with 456 meter long and 128 meter wide.

It is ”U” shaped, with 100.000 spectators capacity and Kathisma ( the lodge of the Empire ). Decorated with Egyptian Obelisk, commisioned by the Pharaoh Tutmose III 15C BC in the name of his campaigns in Syria and his crossing of the Euphrates River. As can be seen the top of Obelisk which is 20 m, has been broken off and originally 30 m and 800 tonnes. Probably, it was brought to Istanbul by Constantine the Great, but, it could not be raised and lay for some years in the harbour. Finally, it was erected by Theodosius in 390, in its present spot. The Obelisk is standing on a marble block which has some reliefs, representing the royal family watching the races in the Hippodrome, receiving homage from his enemies, honoring the winner of the races and assisting the erection of the Obelisk.

The Serpent Column; the intertwined three bronze serpents which form the column were the base of a trophy that once stood in the Temple of Apollo in Greece. It was dedicated to Apollo from the Greeks who defeated the Persian army in the battle of Platae in 479 BC. According to tradition the column was cast from the shields of the Persian soldiers. The name of the 31 Greek cities are carved on the coils of the column at the bottom. The Serpent Column was brought by Constantine from Delphi.

The first place of the column in the courtyard of Hagia Sophia then has been moved to the Hippodrome. The upper part of ( heads) the column is missing, just a piece of the head is on display in Istanbul Archeolgy Museum.

The column of Constantine Porphryogenitus; evethough it was totally renovated by the Emperor Constantine Porphryogenitus in 10C AD, the column is dating earlier period, perhabs to Theodosius or Constantine the Great. The column is the tallest Roman pillar, existing which is 32 m in Istanbul today.

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