Obelisk of Theodosius
Carved out of red marble, the Obelisk of Theodosius, also known in Turkish as Dikilitaş, is covered with inscriptions that depict a battle from the 15th century BC. The pedestal and its carved images of chariot races date to the obelisk’s move to Constantinople. Many small-group and private tours of Sultanahmet visit the Egyptian Obelisk and the Hippodrome. Tours usually combine a stop at the obelisk with other sights in Sultanahmet, including the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii), the Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya), Topkapi Palace, and the Basilica Cistern.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Egyptian Obelisk is a must-see for history buffs.
Wear comfortable shoes to stroll around the Hippodrome and see the Egyptian Obelisk.
The obelisk and the Hippodrome are accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The Egyptian Obelisk is in the Hippodrome, in Istanbul’s central Sultanahmet neighborhood, between the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. It is minutes away from the Sultanahmet tram stop and is also easily accessible by taxi. Parking is limited in the area, so driving is not recommended.
When to Get There
The Hippodrome is a public square, so it is open all day, every day. Sultanahmet and the Hippodrome area around the Egyptian Obelisk can get very busy, especially on weekends and sunny days during peak season (generally April through September), so it’s best to arrive early in the day or after the area’s main sights have closed.
Other Sights in the Hippodrome
The large Hippodrome contains other historical remnants not far from the Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius. Nearby is the Serpentine Column, a spiraled obelisk that came from the Roman Temple of Apollo. Also here is the Walled Obelisk, constructed out of a series of uncut stones. Not far is the German Fountain, a gift from Kaiser Wilhelm in the early 20th century.
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