Prepared by: Ercüment Çalışlar

The Constantinople hippodrome was an area used for chariot races during the Byzantine Period. It was first built at the beginning of the 3rd century AD, during the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus; In the 4th century AD, it was transformed into a more magnificent structure by Emperor Constantine I.

The hippodrome was also used for other public events, such as parades, executions, and condemnation of the emperor’s enemies. In the process following the Fourth Crusades at the beginning of the 13th century, the hippodrome lost its function after its unique structures and works of art were plundered.

The palace was established at the southeast end of the peninsula, behind the Hippodrome and Hagia Sophia. There is a series of rooms reserved for scholars, this tradition continued in Topkapı Palace as well. The total area of the palace is more than 19,000 square meters (200,000 square feet). The main entrance to the palace was from the Halki Gate in the ceremony area called “Augustaion”. The Augustaion was located to the south of Hagia Sophia, where the main street of the city, Mese Caddesi, began. To the east of the area was Magnaura, which served first as the Senate building and then as the University, and to the west were the Million Stones and the Zeuxippos Baths. To the south just after the Halki Gate were the palace guards’ barracks (Scholae Palatinae). After these buildings, there was the reception hall, and then the Daphne Palace, which was used as a royal settlement in the early Byzantine period. The Emperor’s bedroom contained the Octagon. A corridor started from Daphne and ended with the Emperor’s Lodge (kathisma) in the Hippodrome.

The Million Stone was considered the starting point of all Ancient Roman roads that reached the city of Constantinople during the Byzantine Empire, and also the “zero point” in calculating the distance of other world cities to this city. It serves the same function as the Milliarium Aureum monument in Rome, Italy.

During the Byzantine capital gaining its identity in the 4th century by Emperor Constantine I.
It is thought that it was built together with many magnificent monuments.

The work, which we refer to as the Million Stone today, was one of the important examples of Tetrapylon architecture in Roman culture with its four gates facing four directions and a dome structure sitting on four columns rising above the intersecting roads at this point. On its dome, there were sculptures and reliefs from the period that increased the magnificence of the monument. During the expansion works of the aqueducts carrying water to Istanbul in the 19th century, it gradually began to disappear and became the only column today.

Basilica Cistern
The Basilica Cistern is a closed water cistern built in 526-527 to meet the water needs of the city in Istanbul.

Due to the many marble columns rising from the water, it is called the Basilica Palace among the people. It is also called Basilica Cistern because there was a basilica on the cistern before.

Built by the Byzantine emperor Justinianus, the cistern was connected to Hadrian’s waterways, which met the water needs of the areas between the first and second hills of the city.
was connected. Sarayburnu after the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottomans
and served as a water distribution center around the Garden Gate; Although it was not used after the Ottomans established their own water facilities in the city, it became a physical symbol representing the neighborhood in which it was located.

Hagia Sophia, formerly known as Holy Wisdom Church and Hagia Sophia Museum, or today officially known as Hagia Sophia-i Kebîr Câmi-i Şerîfi (Holy Great Hagia Sophia Mosque), is a mosque and former basilica, cathedral and museum located in Istanbul.

It was a basilica planned patriarchal cathedral built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I between 532-537 in the old city center of Istanbul’s historical peninsula. After the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottomans in 1453, II. It was converted into a mosque by Mehmed. 1934 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
It was converted into a museum with the Decree of the Council of Ministers published in 1999, excavation and renovation works were started and it served as a museum from 1935 to 2020.

In 2020, the status of a museum was canceled and the status of a mosque was given. Hagia Sophia is a domed basilica type building that combines the central plan in terms of architecture, and the dome passage and carrier
It is considered as an important turning point in the history of architecture with its system features. For Christians, it is a touristic and spiritual center of attraction, as well as being both a symbolic and an axis.

The word “Aya” in the name of Hagia Sophia means “holy”. The word “Sophia” comes from the Greek word sophos, meaning “wisdom”. Therefore, the name “Hagia Sophia” means “Divine Wisdom” or “Divine Wisdom” in reference to Jesus of Nazareth and is considered one of the three attributes of God in Christian theology.

It is stated that approximately 10,000 workers worked in the construction of Hagia Sophia, which was directed by Isidoros of Miletus and Antemius of Tralles, and Emperor Justinian I spent a great fortune for this work. A feature of this very old building is that some of the columns, doors and stones used in its construction were brought from earlier structures and temples. During the Byzantine Empire, Hagia Sophia had a great wealth of “sacred relics”. One of these relics was the 15-meter-high silver iconostasis. The church of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church for 1000 years, Hagia Sophia was founded in 1054 by Patriarch Michael I, Pope IX. by Leo
He witnessed his excommunication, and this event in general led to the “Schisma”, that is, one of the most important events in the history of Christianity, East and West.
It is considered the beginning of the separation of the churches.

Hippodrome is a compound name formed from the Greek words Hippos (Horse) and dromos (Road, race, racetrack) and is defined as the place where horse and chariot races are held. On the walk towards the Kaiser Wilhelm Fountain, which was built by Wilhelm II to commemorate his Istanbul trip, there was the monumental entrance gate of Carceres, the Hippodrome, behind this fountain.

Quadriga also got its share from the religion of Christianity. The 4 horses represented the 4 biblical writers, and the carriage represented the religion of Christianity. The driver of the Quadriga, the chariot of God, was interpreted as Jesus. For a recent application based on this car, you can look at the quadriga on the Bradenburg Gate in Berlin.

It was brought to Istanbul from Chios. The car, which is now stored in the church in St. Mark’s Square in Venice… Quadriga was taken to Paris from here by Napoleon and lasted for 18 years.
Remained on the Champs Elysées and later repatriated to Venice

Obelisk, which is an Ancient Egyptian work, is also called the Theodosius Obelisk, although it is generally called only the Obelisk among the people. According to some, it was erected by Pharaoh Thutmosis the 3rd in the Karnak Temple in memory of his victories in Asia, and according to others, in memory of the 30th anniversary of his rule (1400s BC). The work, which is thought to have been around 30 meters in original height, was made of red granite stone. When we want to come to the story of the Obelisk’s relocation to Roman Istanbul, we have to go back to the 4th century AD. The son of Emperor Constantine II, who made Constantinople the capital city, had the Obelisk brought to the city of Alexandria. To some historians
According to him, his aim was to move to Istanbul, but he could not succeed, according to some, his aim was to plant it there anyway.

Although it is not known exactly by whom and how it was brought to Istanbul, according to the inscriptions on the pedestal of the Obelisk, it was kept on the ground for a certain period of time. Some sources say that Emperor Julianus, 200
He writes that he had special ships built for this work and that the Obelisk was brought to Istanbul from Alexandria in this way.

Known as the Serpent Column or the Burmese Column in foreign languages, the structure was also called a three-headed dragon or a bronze dragon in Turkish history.

Only the body of the column remained from the monument, which was built in the form of three bronze snakes entwining with each other. The Serpent Column was first built in BC. It was erected in the Delphi Temple in Greece as a victory monument after the war of the Greek allies against the Persians in 478.

The material used in the construction of the column was obtained by melting the weapons captured in the war, and the names of 32 Greek allied cities that participated in the war were written on its body. When the column was first built, it was the base of a three-legged golden cauldron, but this golden cauldron was later looted while it was in the Delphi temple. Like Çemberlitaş, the Serpent Column was brought to Istanbul by the Roman Emperor to decorate the city at the beginning of the fourth century AD. At the beginning of the 18th century, all three snakeheads were severed, although the exact cause is unknown. A fragment of one of the broken snakeheads was found during the excavations carried out during the restoration of Hagia Sophia in 1848. This snakehead fragment, whose lower jaw was found to be broken, is now exhibited in the Archaeological Museum. During the excavations carried out by British archaeologists around the column in 1855 and 1927, waterways were found, revealing that the column could have been used as a fountain.

The Knitted Column, which is 32 meters high, was built in a form that tapers towards the hill. Normally, there was an obelisk in the middle of the hippodromes built during the Roman period. However, a second obelisk was erected at the hippodrome in Istanbul to glorify the city, similar to the Circus Maximus hippodrome in Rome, which has two obelisks. It is not known who erected the Knitted Column, which is thought to have been erected in the fourth century BC. The inscription on the marble footing under the column facing the Blue Mosque reads: “This four-sided high monument, eroded by time, has been transformed by the Emperor Constantine, the pride of the Empire, into something better than what we have seen before. The Colossus of Rhodes surprised; This column covered with bronze aroused admiration.

From this information, the column of Constantine VII. It is understood that it was repaired during the time of Porpyrogennetos (913-959). During this repair, the body of the Knitted Column and the three sides of the footrest were decorated with gilded bronze plates. During the crusades in 1204, those coming from Western Europe mistook them for gold while plundering the city, and took the brass around the column.

The Binbirdirek Cistern, also known as the Filoksenos Cistern, is the second largest cistern in Istanbul. According to ancient Byzantine sources, it was built in the 4th century. The 3584 m2 cistern with 224 columns inside has dried up over time and has been used as a workshop since the 16th century. The columns in the cistern are made up of two overlapping bodies, and there are truncated pyramid-shaped capitals on top of them.

It is known that the Greek letters engraved on the column bodies are the signs of the stonemasons who worked in the construction of the cistern and worked on the columns. It has been cleaned in recent years and is connected to the road passing by by a gallery. The cistern, which has been transformed into an easily visited, interesting and beautiful place to visit, measures 64 x 56 meters. It was built by the Roman senator Philoxenos during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Constantine I in the 4th century.

212 of the 224 original columns have survived to the present day. The brick vaults of the space surrounded by thick walls, the double columns that carry them, superimposed with a partition, and the unworked capitals display interesting images. The small sales counter, cafe and exhibition areas, and the hollow section in the middle of the cistern, where the original height of the columns can be seen, was built during the renovation.

The Şerefiye Cistern or Theodosius Cistern is one of the many Byzantine period cisterns in the historical Peninsula. Considering the historical topography of Constantinople in the Byzantine period, the building is located south of the Ancient Mese road, southeast of the Constantine Forum, and west of the Binbirdirek Cistern. Pipeline on the oak
It is among the cisterns that can benefit from the line.


The complex of a large cloistered courtyard (excavated in 1935-1938) and an adjacent cantilevered hall (excavated in 1952-1954) is still the most important discovery made at the site of the Great Palace.

The original floor of the cloistered courtyard is a carefully crafted mosaic floor whose subject, style and quality is virtually unmatched in late antique and Byzantine mosaic art. The surviving mosaics with mythological, rural life, hunting and hippodrome scenes are exhibited in the Mosaic Museum (partly in their original places), which was established on the site of this magnificent palace-like building and opened at the end of the 1980s. However, construction activities at the site began long before the mosaic cloistered courtyard and the apse hall were built: a two-storey arched structure made of brick that supports a marble path leading to a building whose remains of the oldest lines have been identified below the apse hall, a high terrace possibly dating from the same period. A cistern made of bricks, cut by the foundations of the cloistered courtyard, was found under the portico courtyard.

Based on the latest research, judging by the sherds and tiled bricks found under the mosaics, and the greenstone level lines used in the construction of the buildings, it has been determined that the cloistered courtyard and hall date from the late 6th or early 7th century (the reign of Maurice, Phocas, or Heraclius).

Magnaura Probably Latin: Magna Aula, “Great Hall”, a large building located in Constantinople. The main entrance to the Great Palace was through the Halki Gate, in the ceremonial area called “Augustaion”. The Augustaion was located to the south of Hagia Sophia, where the main street of the city, Mese Caddesi, began. To the east of the area was Magnaura, which served first as the Senate building and then as the University. It was in the form of a basilica on three main naves. The building was used as the crown room, the reception building, respectively. A school (ekpaideutērion) was founded in the building by Caesar Bardas in 849.

Sedir carpet and kilim shop on Mimar Mehmet Ağa Street is the place where one of the most important and interesting ruins from the Byzantine period can be seen.

In the basement of the shop are the remains of two buildings built at different levels. On a higher level, near the edge of an earlier Byzantine terrace, is a well-preserved fifth or sixth century floor mosaic with a geometric pattern. The pattern of the mosaic is late Roman and
It shows features common to both secular and religious buildings in early Byzantine times. Therefore, the mosaic itself does not help us determine which building it is decorating. It could be a church or a house.

If it is a house, one of the possibilities is that the mosaic is dated to II. It belonged to the palace of Theodosius’ sister Marina. This early fifth-century palace residence was in Byzantine district I, probably east of the Great Palace and close to the tzykanisterion. The Marina’s palace was mentioned only in the ninth century as a residence on the imperial estate: after the future emperor Basil killed Emperor Michael III at the Hagios Mamas Palace on the European side of the Bosphorus (now Beşiktaş), he passed through the Marina’s palace and entered one of the gates of the Great Palace. reached. Descending another staircase, a flat vaulted corridor is entered, the floor of which is approximately 5 m below the level of the mosaic (presumably because it is on a lower floor than the mosaic-tiled building). The building can be dated to the eleventh or early twelfth century, based on typical ‘hidden vein’ brickwork. There is a section containing a holy spring on the south wall of the hall. In the “Hodegetria” type, the “Mother of God” (guiding) is depicted on the recessed wall face of the cell.

Remains of other buildings showing the same building technique are to the east of the Sedir Carpet.
It can be found on an empty lot across Admiral Tafdil Street. The presence of this fresco of the Virgin Mary and the holy spring suggest that the vestibule may have been a part of the Hodegoi Monastery, which is also famous for its curative holy spring, which is especially effective in the treatment of blindness.

According to medieval Russian pilgrims, the monastery was on the right side of a street going east from Hagia Sophia and could be reached by the sea wall from the Hodegetria Church to Nea Eklesia and Boukoleon Palace.
It was possible to walk to the west, leaving it on the left. According to legend, Pulcheria (399-453), daughter of Emperor Arcadius, had a church built to protect the “Mother of God and Child” icon, allegedly made by the Apostle Luke. Having become popular on this type of icons after the eleventh century, the Virgin Mary directs the attention of the beholders to the child on her right. The Hodegetria icon was often carried in Byzantine processions, as the Virgin Mary was the city’s eternal protector. Emperor VIII. When Michael Palaeologus entered the city in victory on August 12, 1261, he carried this famous icon, which he wanted back from the Latins. It was also moved to this icon in the last Byzantine war in 1453. It is said that the icon was destroyed when the Turks captured the city.

NAKKAŞ Cistern

The place where two continents, East and West meet… Byzantium of the Greeks, Constantinople of the Eastern Romans, Istanbul of the Turks… As an expression of its stance in the field of tourism, NAKKAŞ has its store in Sultanahmet, the heart of the capital of the empires. It takes visitors deep into history in the 6th century cistern located under it. It is a good example of how much cultural heritage can be protected with a conscious restoration. It brings together the 1400-year-old Byzantine Cistern, which it has completely restored to its original form, with the cultural life of the city without any profit motive. In the past years, local and foreign artists had the opportunity to exhibit their products with the activities carried out under the brand of “Nakkaş Cistern Art Gallery”. Famous ensembles gave various concerts.

Still in the cistern, the Hippodrome exhibition of old Istanbul in the 1200s is meeting with the audience.

The Sfendon Wall, located in the Historic Peninsula and resisting time for approximately 1700 years, awaits the attention of local and foreign visitors. The wall, which bears traces of the Roman Empire, was built in the hippodrome area, which was inspired by the Circus Maximus in Rome in 200 years, and was enlarged by Constantine between 324-337. as “Sfendon”
The semi-circular end of the hippodrome, called the hippodrome, was placed on a massive infrastructure consisting of vaulted galleries and walls, allowing 30-40 thousand people to take part in the hippodrome at the same time. Istanbul, where Sultanahmet Vocational and Technical Anatolian High School is located.
Sfendon Wall, one of the oldest ruins, is one of the few historical ruins left from that day in the area also known as the Horse Square.

The Little Hagia Sophia Mosque is the mosque in Istanbul’s Little Hagia Sophia district. The church was built by the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Emperor Justinian I and his wife Theodora between 527-536 under the name of Aya Sergios and Bachos Church. Beyazit Topkapi Palace Darussaade
It was converted into a mosque during the reign of his master Hüseyin Ağa.

Block stones of 3 meters by 1.8 meters were used in its foundation. It has an 8-cornered main dome. It is known as the oldest Byzantine Period structure in Istanbul. In the southern part of the garden, there is a large garden with 24 rooms and Hüseyin Ağa Madrasa with a fountain in the middle. It was restored by the Madrasa Yesevi Foundation and put into service of Turkish handicrafts. Near it is the Kesikbaş Hüseyin Ağa tomb. The building underwent two repairs in 1836 and 1956, various lead and plasters were renewed, and its single minaret was significantly repaired.

According to the legends, the church takes its name from an event that took place when Anastasius I was the Roman Emperor of Nature. During the reign of Anastasius I, a social uprising took place against the emperor, and Justinian I was involved in this rebellion. Thereupon, Justinian I was sentenced to death by the Emperor, however, on the night before the verdict would take place, St. Sergius and St. Bacchus entered the dream of Emperor Anastasius I and testified in favor of Justinian I. This dream or vision affects the emperor to such an extent that he rethinks the fairness of the verdict. Anastasius I abandons his decision and forgives Justinian I. After Justinian I ascended the throne, by Anastasius I
In order to pay his debt of gratitude to the Saints who made the decision to spare his life, he had the church built, which currently serves as the Little Hagia Sophia Mosque, in the name of St. Sergius and St. Bacchus as a votive church.

This small mosque was built by the famous Ottoman architect Sinan in 1553 and was originally part of a larger building group (Kapı Ağası Mahmut Ağa Complex) that included a madrasa (no remains), a primary school (children’s school), a fountain and a cemetery.

The mosque rises on a high stone infrastructure consisting of four vaulted rooms. Since the building is located on the shore of two previously constructed terraces (16 and 11 m above sea level), the lower infrastructure section is visible from both sides. It has recently been suggested that the infrastructures are older than the mosque and were built during the Byzantine period. If this
if true, the surviving vaulted rooms may have moved the floors of a Byzantine-era building in the Great Palace. The infrastructures are located almost in an east-west direction, suggesting the possibility of this building being a church, but this is not certain because the civil-looking buildings in the palace area, especially the courtyard with mosaic cloisters, were also oriented in the same way. The remains of brick and stone walls, dating from the Byzantine period and forming the eastern side of the mosque’s garden wall, seem to be a continuation of the still-extant wreck of Phocas’s wall. Considering this, the infrastructures of the mosque are located just inside the Palace, as this late tenth century fortification wall indicates.

Probably in the 5th century II. It was built by Theodosius. Ottoman sultan II. When Mehmed entered the city in 1453, the palace was standing but in ruins. The ruins of the palace were partially demolished in 1873 for the construction of the railway to Sirkeci Station.

Bukoleon Palace was used and restored by Justinian I, who lived here with his wife Theodora before he came to power. After Justinian I became emperor, he included this place in the Great Palace complex. The palace was extensively restored during the reign of Theophios. II. Nikiforos also strengthened the sea front of the Bukoleon Palace with fortification walls, starting from the Lighthouse Tower, during the construction of the Great Palace complex with defensive walls. He also had additional structures built here, such as a warehouse.

Today, a significant part of the ruins on the sea walls of the palace belong to the 10th century. IMM Department of Cultural Heritage has started its work to transform the Boukoleon palace into cultural and artistic spaces.