About Sultanahmet

The Obelisk and minarets of the Sultanahmet Mosque.

The German Fountain. This fountain in Sultanahmet Square was built by the architect Spitta in Germany between 1898 and 1899.
In 1901, it was given as a present by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II to Sultan Abdiilhamit II. The dome's interior is gold and the walls are covered with tiles.

fighting amongst themselves. It is said that at this stage the Emperor would retire to his place along a raised traverse until the uproar had died down. Eventually, these games were forbidden, and the Hippodrome was used only during festive days.

It is believed that during the Latin occupation of Istanbul, the statues of the Hippodrome were ripped off their pedestals, their metal plaques melted down for re-use, and the finest works removed to the west. For example; LisipposO four bronze horses now decorate the facade of St. Marco in Venice. The once-grandiose Hippodrome was largely abandoned and left in ruins by the time of the Turkish conquest in 1453.

The Obelisk

Two obelisks facing one another can still be seen in Sultanahmet Square. One of these, which is inscribed with hieroglyphics, was shipped from Egypt by Emperor Theodosius and placed in its present position in the Hippodrome. Standing 18.45 m. high, (24.87 m. including its base), it was constructed of syenite porphyry and given the name the "Column of Theodosius", It weighs 200 tons and is supported on a marble plinth measuring 2.75 x 2.20m. The plinth is decorated with bas-reliefs depicting the life of Theodosius. The northern face shows Byzantine Emperor Arcadius together with his wife, Eudocsia, seated in the Catizma of the Hippodrome. The western face shows Emperor Theodosius, enthroned, together with his wife and his children, Arcadius and Honorius. Standing before them are the defeated enemies of the empire. On the eastern face, Emperor Theodosius is shown watching the games together with his two children, while on the southern face, he is shown with his two sons on his right, and on his left, Valantinius II, watching a chariot race.


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