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Hippodrome (Hipodrom)

This city square once was the chariot racing and ceremonial hub of old Constantinople, and is still a popular meeting place.

The old Hippodrome (Hipodrom) of Constantinople is now a landscaped city park that is locally known as “At Meydani” (Horse Grounds). The square is well worth a visit if you want to enjoy the Mediterranean climate of Istanbul and see a glimpse of the old Constantinople at the same time.

Constructed in its original form in the third century, the Hippodrome’s race track once welcomed over 100,000 spectators who watched the chariot races from surrounding galleries. Court ceremonies, parades and coronation events also took place here under Byzantine Imperial rule.

Much of the original Hippodrome has been lost, but you can still follow the original path of the race track, which is now clearly paved. Admire one of Istanbul’s oldest monuments: the Obelisk of Theodosius. It was built in ancient Egypt before being brought to Istanbul by emperor Theodosius the Great the end of the fourth century.

An even older column that still stands on the Hippodrome is the Tripod of Plataea, better known as the Serpent Column, which commemorates the Greek victory over the Persians in 480 B.C. This bronze tripod was taken from Delphi by Emperor Constantine and brought to this site while he renovated the existing Hippodrome as part of a general expansion of the city.

Head to the northern side of the square to find a more modern, European addition to the Hippodrome: A gazebo known as “The Kaiser Wilhelm Fountain.” It was a gift from Germany and erected in 1900.

The Hippodrome was famously the site of seven statues built in honor of the legendary Roman charioteer Porphyrius. The bases of two are still displayed in the nearby Istanbul Archaeological Museum, which also houses one of the serpent heads of the Tripod of Plataea.

The Hippodrome lies at the heart of Istanbul’s historic district in the Old City and is close to other main attractions such as the Hagia Sophia. As a public garden square, the site of the old Hippodrome is well worth a visit to bask in the Istanbul sunshine and enjoy a glimpse into the life and leisure of the old Constantinople.

Popular Activities at Hippodrome

It's not difficult to spend a whole morning at Hippodrome. Here are a selection of the things you can try here:

For even more things to do, examine our Istanbul things to do page.


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Lodging Near Hippodrome of Constantinople

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Doruk Palas Hotel $57
Reviewed on Jun 17, 2019
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Doruk Palas Hotel

Doruk Palas Hotel

Emekyemez Mahallesi, Nazli Hanim Sk. No 19 Galata, Istanbul, Istanbul
     
    4.9 of 5
    0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Myself and my wife enjoyed our stay at Doruk palace. I would strongly recommend this hotel & overall rating is 5 stars. We had a warm and friendly welcome after a long flight. The location is great and can easily access the important landmarks of Istanbul. Their motto was “welcome to your home.. ...

    Sultanhan Hotel - Special Class $133
    Reviewed on Jun 16, 2019
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    Sultanhan Hotel - Special Class

    Sultanhan Hotel - Special Class

    Piyer Loti Cad No:7, Istanbul, Istanbul
       
      4.4 of 5
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      I just returned from a wonderful weekend in Zagreb. I chose Sultanhan hotel based on recommandations on Trip Advisor. I was not disappointed. The staff is extremely friendly and attentive. I chatted with Hussein who speak both English and French quite well. When I arrived I was offered some nice ...

      Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel $187
      Reviewed on Jun 6, 2019
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      Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel

      Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel

      Divanyolu Cd. Alemdar Mah., Ticarethane Sk. No 10 Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Istanbul
         
        4.2 of 5
        5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        This hotel was in a great location. Friendly and helpful staff and a fantastic selection of foods offered for breakfast. The only downside for us was that the pool and outside courtyard was being renovated, so we only got to experience this for 15 minutes on our final morning at the hotel - and would ...

        Ottoman Hotel Imperial - Special Class $72
        Reviewed on Jun 8, 2019
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        Ottoman Hotel Imperial - Special Class

        Ottoman Hotel Imperial - Special Class

        Caferiye Sok. No. 6/1, Sultanhmet, Istanbul, Istanbul
           
          4.3 of 5
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Our room had a Turkish bath, excellent Wi-Fi signal, laundry service and room service. The hotel staff is friendly and professional. The young man named Yusuf was exceptional at his job, as were the men at the front desk, giving us sightseeing tips and offering to arrange tours for us right from ...

          GLK PREMIER The Home Suites & Spa $1,399
          Reviewed on Jun 14, 2019
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          GLK PREMIER The Home Suites & Spa

          GLK PREMIER The Home Suites & Spa

          Kucukayasofya Cad No:60, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Istanbul
             
            4.2 of 5
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Fantastic hotel in a fantastic location. All the main attractions are 10-15 mins walk away which is very nice! Staff were welcoming, regards to Ayce and Caner for their hospitality. The free breakfast is amazing, with a wide range of options. All in all, a solid 5 star. My only small gripe was sockets ...

            The Laila Hotel $36
            Reviewed on Jun 12, 2019
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            The Laila Hotel

            The Laila Hotel

            binbirdirek mahallesi, katipsinan cami sokak no 21, Istanbul, Istanbul
               
              3.6 of 5
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              New building and all new furniture. Staff can't speak English but they try their best to help customers.

              Pera Palace Hotel $181
              Reviewed on Jun 8, 2019
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              Pera Palace Hotel

              Pera Palace Hotel

              Mesrutiyet Cad. No. 52, Tepebasi Beyoglu, Istanbul, Istanbul
                 
                4.7 of 5
                5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                I like all of it specially as an antic hotel. The location is perfect with good access to restaurants and historical sites

                Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet $239
                Reviewed on Jun 11, 2019
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                Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet

                Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet

                Emin Sinan Mah Piyerloti Cad No: 30, Sultanahmet, Istanbul
                   
                  4.9 of 5
                  5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  5*s is not enough to rate this hotel! It is absolutely exquisite, everything about it is luxurious and first class! Everything is branded and they've worked so hard to build an amazing reputation, they should definitely open more Ajwa's around the world, as they would take the hospitality industry ...