Ancient Hippodrome

Hippodrome was the center of life in Byzantine Constantinople and Ottoman life in Constantinople for over 1.400 years. It was also the center of numerous political and civil battles, some brutal.

It was an ancient Greek stadium for chariot racing and horse racing. The Greek ancient hippodrome of Constantinople had witnessed many civil wars too. During 6th century, a big violence had caused against to Empress Theodora. Even They had burned and ruined Bazilica Church. It was standing on the ground of Hagia Sophia during this violence. Emperor Justinian I could stop this violence with death penalty of people in ancient Hippodrome.

4th Crusaders in 1204

Hippodrome had decoration of symbolic pieces from other cities of Byzantine Empire. These pieces were Egyptian Obelisk , Serpentine column from Delphi and also symbolic bronze Quadriga horse statues. In 1204, 4th Crusaders had occupied Constantinople. They had emptied the whole treasury and taken to Venice. Also, they had taken 4 Bronze Quadriga Horse Statues  away to Venice as well. Nowadays Replicas of these horse statues decorates the balcony of San Marco Cathedral in Venice. Original pieces are in upper gallery museum of San Marco in Venice.


Very little of ancient Hippodrome survives today. The quarter is now a large park adjacent to the Blue Mosque. Emperor Constantine once lined the Hippodrome with large columns, but only three survive in the park. The oldest remaining column, Egyptian Obelisk, which was 3600 years old, and once stood in Luxor before Constantine brought it to his city. Next to the Egyptian Obelisk is the spiral Serpentine Column, dating back to 479 BC. Emperor Constantine had brought it from Delphi, and originally consisted of three intertwined serpents supporting a large cauldron. The third remaining column stands over 100 feet highö Column of Constantine Porphyrogenitus. Not much is known about this unadorned column other than that it was once covered in bronze before being looted by the Crusaders.