Hippodrome – Or What’s Left of It


Egyptian Obelisk

The Hippodrome used to be this grand circus in Constantinople. It was there before Emperor Constantine made it its capital and then he expanded it. Unlike the Colosseum, the newly Christianized east Romans couldn’t do bloody gladiator fights anymore because it was unchristian (but they had no problems gouging people’s eyes).

It could challenge the Colosseum in Rome if the Turks kept it intact but they weren’t interested in chariot racing. Interesting fact: they were more interested in using the Hippodrome for days long circumcision ceremony. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

The Byzantine emperors decorated it with grand monuments, statues and trophies. Now few of its original structure remain, including this Obelisk (see above)  and the Serpent Column below from the ancient world of Egypt.


This serpent column has the most interesting history. 

The Serpent Column was made out of three intertwined states and commemorated the 31 Greek States that fought during the Greek-Persian wars. The bronze was supposed to have been made from the fallen Persian warriors’ shields (wow) during that war. It was placed next to the altar of Apollo in Delphi.

When the Turks took over, Mehmed II (their ruler) shattered the jaw of one of the monsters that the Turks thought were idols of the city.

There are supposed to be three serpents at the top. The two are lost but one has been found and is now in the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul.


This is what the original hippodrome looked like in its glory days. 

To know more about Hippodrome, read Hippodrome of Istanbul and Hippodrome of Constantinople.


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