Hippodrome

The Hippodrome was the centre of the political, cultural and sports life in Constantinople.  It was founded in the reign of the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus in the 2nd century A.D.   

It had enlargement and further decorations when the city became capital of the Roman Empire. The horse chariot racing was the main sport meanwhile. There were four teams: The Greens, the Blues, the Reds and the Whites. Last two disappeared in time. As well as being horse chariot teams, they were representing different classes in the Byzantine society. That is why they were like today’s political parties.  

The ground was used for some festivals such as circumcision of the young princes in the Ottoman period.

There are three monuments from the late Roman period: The Egyptian Obelisk is the oldest monument in the site. Pharaoh Thutmose III, the ‘’Egyptian Napoleon’’ erected it to boast his victories in Palestine, Syria and Anatolia. It was built to decorate Karnak Temple. The Romans shipped it to the ground and erected in 4th century A.D. The Serpentine Column originally stood in Apollo Temple in Delphi. The ancient Greeks cast it to commemorate their victory against Persians in 5th century B.C. Constantine the Great had it transported to decorate his capital. The last column is called the Column of Constantine Prophrogenitus is actually from earlier time and decorated with bronze plates by Constantine Prophrogenitus in 10th century. The Fourth Crusaders of the 13th century took those plates and melted down to make coins.

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