Roman Hippodrome- ChaRIOT into the past

ay 2: 11th April 2011

After a long trip to the Chora Museum we made our way to the Roman Hippodrome

For this we had to drive through some narrow lanes. Its quite a remarkable skill to drive through cobbled roads that wind up and down, through hotels, houses and markets.


When we got out of the van no wait the bus to go to the Hippodrome, it was Sunny. So we like smart idiots decided to leave our mufflers and caps in the van. But when we went to the Hippodrome, it began to blow..err the wind began to blow (=Damn why do they say the wind began to blow takes the fun out of writing why can’t we say It began to Wind like It began to Rain….?)

So we saw the Hippodrome/Egyptian Obelisk/ Serpent Column all shivering!!!

A little bit about the Hippodrome

1. It doesn’t exist today

2. You have to imagine it


Wikileaks (=Well I’m leaking Wikipedia ka gyan to you all so effectively leaking Wiki :P)

Hippodrome is a Greek word for a a Roman Circus for horse racing and chariot racing

(=Wait a minute, isn’t this supposed to be a ROMAN hippodrome??)


The Greek hippodrome was similar to the Roman Circus, except that in the latter only four chariots ran at a time. I could really not imagine a huge amphitheatre there where people used to crowd to watch races. Also the square is so well done, it looks like a modern promenade and not a place where a stadium stood.

There are 3 main items of interest in the Hippodrome

  1. Egyptian Obelisk
  2. Serpent Column
  3. Walled Obelisk

Egyptian Obelisk:  To decorate the Hippodrome, various emperors used to bring in works of art from abroad. This one is a huge column which  was brought from Egypt to erect inside the racing track. The Obelisk was cut into 3 pieces and then brought to Constantinople by Emperor Theodosius II . It seems it was cut into 3 pieces and then brought to Constantinople….Only 1 piece remains.


Serpent Column: This was brought to Constantinople after the victory of the Greeks over the Persians in the Persian wars in the 5th Century. The Serpent heads were destroyed in the 17th Century. Parts of the heads which were recovered are in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum

Walled Obelisk: This was covered with some plastic sheet, maybe because it was under repair. It seems the original was covered with gilded bronze plates which were stolen during the Crusades.

We really couldn’t see much because it was very windy and we were shivering!!! Also our guide was rushing us into the Blue Mosque!!! This is why it is really preferred to travel on your own. Then you can stay at a place for as long as you like and not be rushed about.

That just about wraps up The Hippodrome. I would have liked to have walked down the promenade, i’ve seen beautiful pictures of it online. (=Damn the exams i missed on some good research!!)

To be Continued: blue A Mosque lies ahead; Matis n Kaleens…Carpets et all


A Mosaic at Chora Church


A panel in the Parecclesion


Heiroglyphics on the Obelisk


The bottom of the Egyptian Obelisk

Author: NM

Journeys fascinate me!!! About me?? The Discovery of Me is another journey ;) :P

2 thoughts on “Roman Hippodrome- ChaRIOT into the past”

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