17 Jun 2007 - Istanbul, Turkey
Good-bye Istanbul! Today is my final day but its certainly been action packed. I arrived on Thursday night and now today, Sunday morning, I am preparing to go. Being on my own, it possibly allowed me to cover the great distances that I did; 26+ miles is some distance over two days. To do this with someone requires them to have the enthusiasm to see everything and also the stamina to do it. Because I was so busy going from place to place I didn't have too much time to think about anything other than what I was looking at or how to get to the next place.
When I slowed down though I did reflect on the fact that I would have liked to have had the experience with someone else. Outstanding places and experiences are so much better when shared.
Istanbul - The Hippodrome of Constantinople
With time for one last wander I made the short trip to the Sultanahmet to take a final view along the Hippodrome and the monuments.
The word hippodrome comes from the Greek hippos, horse, and dromos, path or way. Horse racing and chariot racing were popular pastimes in the ancient world and hippodromes were common features of Greek cities in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras.
Istanbul - Column of Constantine Porphyrogenitus 10th Century AD, Hippodrome
One of the columns forming the axis of the Hippodrome. The inscription at the base reads "Ormedikilitas, Column of Constantine Porphyrogenitus 10th Century AD". Covered with embroidered copper and brass plates seeable from great distances, after the Latin invasion in the 13th Century, like much of value in Constantinople was stripped, in this case to be melted into coins.
Istanbul - The Serpentine Column
This ancient Greek sacrificial tripod, originally located in Delphi, was later relocated to Constantinople by Constantine I in 324. The serpent heads remained until the end of the 17th century. It was part of the offering, or trophy, which was dedicated to Apollo at Delphi, after the defeat of the Persian army at Plataea in August, 479 BC by those Greek City States, who were in alliance against the Persian invasion of mainland Greece.
Istanbul - The obelisk of Theodosius, Hippodrome
This obelisk was originally erected at the Temple of Karnak in Luxor, Egypt during the reign of Tuthmosis III in about 1490 BC. Theodosius had the obelisk cut into three pieces and brought to Constantinople. Only the top section survives, and it stands today where Theodosius placed it, on a marble pedestal. The obelisk has survived nearly 3,500 years in astonishingly good condition.
A plaque at the bottom reads "The obelisk of Theodosius erected 390 AD".