walled Constantine obelisk Istanbul hippodrome

The Walled Obelisk has many names including, “Walled Column” and “Constantine Obelisk”. Located in the former Byzantine Hippodrome, what is now a beautiful park was once where fierce chariot races were held. After the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453, the importance of the Hippodrome wavered yet this column built around the 10th century survived. I happened to stroll through the (now) Sultanahmet Park around sunrise, making my way to the metro stop of the same name a few weeks ago.

Sultanahmet Park, also known as “At Meydani” (in English “Horse Square”), is ground zero for tourism in Istanbul, Turkey. The park is right next to the Blue (Sultan Ahmet) Mosque and Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) with the underground Byzantine Cistern on the northern edge. Within the park itself and across from the Walled Obelisk is the Obelisk of Theodosius (over 3,000 years old) and the Serpent Tower. Of course my favorite feature of At Meydani is a much more modern addition – the free wi-fi available throughout the park.