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Hippodrome Square (Atmeydani)

Hippodrome SquareBack in Byzantium days, elections weren't decided by a namby-pamby voting system; often an emperor's fate hung on the outcome of a chariot race. Races were held at the Hippodrome between the rival 'Greens' and 'Blues'. Support for a team was akin to membership of a political party and an emperor might lose his throne as the result of a post-match riot.

Ottoman sultans also kept an eye on activities in the Hippodrome. If things were going badly in the empire, a surly crowd gathering here could signal the start of a disturbance, then a riot, then a revolution.

Though the Hippodrome might be the scene of their downfall, Byzantine emperors and Ottoman sultans outdid one another in beautifying it. Unfortunately, many priceless statues carved by ancient masters have disappeared from their original homes here.

Near the northern end of the Hippodrome, the little gazebo in beautiful stonework is actually Kaiser Wilhelm's Fountain. The German emperor paid a state visit to Abdül Hamit II in 1901 and presented this fountain to the sultan and his people as a token of friendship.

Egyptian Obelisk

The impressive granite Obelisk of Theodosius was carved in Egypt around 1450 BC. The Byzantine emperor, Theodosius, had it brought from Egypt to Constantinople in AD 390 and had it erected on a marble pedestal engraved with scenes of himself in the midst of various imperial pastimes.

There are various monuments in Hippodrome Area. The most attractive one is the "Egyptian Obelisk". This building was originally constructed by Pharaoh Tutmosis III(1549-1503 BC). It was 60 m. (200 feet) high and weighed 800 tons. When shipped from Egypt to Constantinople, it was split into three and only the very top of it survived. It was erected to Constantinople during the reign of Theodosius I in 390. There is a marble base with sculptured reliefs representing the Emperor's watching of chariot races with his family. The obelisk is made of pink granit and it depicts Praraoh Tutmosis III with Sun God Amon Ra.

Another building in Hippodrome Area is so-called "Serpentine Column". The three intertwined bronze serpents form the column. This column was brought from the Temple of Apollo, Delphi Greece dedicated to God by the 31 Greek cities who defeated the Persians at Platea in 479 BC. It was brought by Emperor Constantine the Great.

The third monument in this area is called as "Colossus" or "the column of Constantine Porphyrgenitus". This column looks much more eroded and the purpose is thought to have a parallelism with the Egyptian Obelisk.The German Fountain

The last monument in Hippodrome Area is the "German Fountain" or "Fountain of Kaiser Wilhelm II". It is an octagonal building with water taps around which was constructed in 1898. Inside the fountain, there are lovely mosaics which depicts the signatures of Wilhelm II and Sultan Abdulhamit II, the sultan of that time. This fountain was to commemorate the alliance of German Empire and Ottoman Empire against the allied powers of Russia, Great Britain,France and Japan before the World War I. The Germans took great advantages and privileges from Ottoman Empire with a lot of promises but at the end of World War I, they were both defeated by the allied powers.