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Petit Futé's opinion on HIPPODROME (AT MEYDANI)

Vintage plate 2020

Its name comes from the real racecourse that was located at this very location on Sultanahmet Square. It was a place where horse and chariot races were organised and could accommodate nearly 100,000 spectators. A race consisted of four quadriges and seven laps, or about 2,500 m. Each driver was wearing the color of the Constantinople faction that was financing him. Whites and blues represented aristocrats and landowners, while reds and greens represented artists and traders. Tension between the two factions has led to several revolts. Two columns and an obelisk, which were part of the monuments placed in the central axis of the track and around which the races were held, are still intact. The site is named At Meydanı ("Place des Chevaux") by the Ottomans, because the pages of the palace regularly played djirit, the ancestor of polo.

From north to south: The obelisk of Theodosius. It comes from the Karnak temple built by Thutmes III (1483-1450 BC). The hieroglyphics engraved on the four sides of this 26 m high porphyry monolith are dedicated to the god Horus and celebrate the victories won by the pharaoh. Transferred to Constantinople by Theodosius I, it was installed in the middle of the racecourse in 390. The column stands on a 6-metre-high marble pedestal, carved with bas-reliefs depicting Theodosius and his family seated in the Imperial Grandstand of the racecourse and giving crowns to the winners of the races. The serpentine column (Yilanlı Sütün). It is a trophy that the 31 Greek cities brought back from the temple of Pythian Apollo (Delphi) in 479 BC. This twist, formed by the winding of three snakes, supported a large tripod and a golden vase. Constantine the Great brought it back from Delphi to install it on the racecourse square. The snakes, demoniac symbols par excellence, did not please either the Byzantines or the Muslims afterwards, and were mutilated several times. All the heads disappeared with time. The walled obelisk. This 32m high obelisk was erected in the 4th century on the spina of the Hippodrome, probably during the reign of Constantine I the Great (306-337). Made of roughly cut stone blocks, it remained so until Constantine VII (912-959) had it covered with gilded bronze plaques. These plates were removed during the Fourth Crusade (1204) to make coins.

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Members' reviews on HIPPODROME (AT MEYDANI)

5 reviews
4.2/5
Value for money
Service
Originality
DustOmbres
4/5
Visited in july 2019
Value for money
Service
Originality
Place centrale entre les différents monuments à visiter, et agréable pour une pause
Durant nos 5 jours à Istanbul, nous nous sommes souvent retrouvés sur cette place, centrale, pour faire une pause, manger une glace ou un épi de maïs. En plein jour comme en soirée, on s'y sent toujours bien. Une petite oasis urbaine.
Antar
4/5
Visited in august 2019
Value for money
Service
Originality
Grande esplanade
On ne se rend pas compte que l'on est sur l'emplacement d'un hippodrome immense.
lolotte3108
4/5
Visited in june 2018
Value for money
Service
Originality
Une vaste place située non loin de la mosquée bleue où il fait bon se poser et goûter une glace au yaourt
Florent73
5/5
Visited in april 2018
Value for money
Service
Originality
Vaste place situé a coté de la mosquée bleue, témoin de l'empire romain, on peut voir l'obélisque de Théodose, la colonne serpentine et l'obélisque muré
cheguemanu
4/5
Visited in august 2017
Value for money
Service
Originality
Lors de notre courte escale istanbuliote, nous avons pu admirer cette grande place de nuit qui se trouvait juste à côté de notre auberge de jeunesse. Sur cette place, trône un important obélisque d'origine égyptienne. "Coincé" entre la Mosquée Bleue et Sainte-Sophie, vous ne pouvez pas passer à côté!

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