The Significance of the Hippodrome – Touran Samii

The declaration of Constantinople as the capital of the Roman Empire in 330 BC was not only a political statement, but one that also announced the urban development of the city as one pertaining to Roman architecture and city planning. It was a city meant to illustrate the success of Constantine’s military and portray the lavishes and wealth of the newly expanded empire. Similar to the metropolis of many Mediterranean capitals, Constantinople featured forums or public meeting places, surrounded by imperial quarters and basilicas used for civil services or religious purposes. At its center, lay the imperial palace flanked by the pilgrimage-worthy St Sophia to the South of Agustaion square and the Hippodrome to its South-west (Cormack 38). Dispersed among these magnificent structures, were open squares decorated with an abundance of flora. (more…)

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A Day in Sultanahmet – Mert Erten

Unlike other well-preserved cities like Rome, Istanbul reveals little of its ancient past as Constantinople. After the Licinius defeat the time of the old Rome started passsing while Roman Emperor Constantine I decided to rebuild a “new Rome” in the east also which he declared to be a new Roman capital. Constantinople, as a new Roman capital, preserved its Roman culture as well as its imperial idea. (more…)

Published in: on November 6, 2009 at 23:55  Leave a Comment  
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Gözde Pekol

The trip that we had to Sultanahmet was not an ordinary one.Thw first Hagia Sophia was constructed in 360 by constantius II then it became the cathedral of Byzantium.It burned in 404 and also in 532. the third Hagia Sophia was reconstructed in 537. After 1453 it was immediatly turned into a friday mosque. We met in front of the Ayasofya Museum’s enterance which was Augustaion square (fora) in Mese. Augustaion took its name from augustus which was a title for emperors. It was a typical type of Roman courtyard where commercial activities occured, functioned as a public forum where people met. (more…)

Published in: on November 6, 2009 at 23:48  Leave a Comment  
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Tarçın Köprülü

Where we met for our fieldtrip was Augustaion which was situated south of Hagia Sophia was the imperial square in the center of the Constantinople and on the Mese which is the main street. The name Augustaion refers to the title “agustus” used for the Roman emperors. The public forum was rebuilt by Justinian after the Nika Riot. The fora is surrounded by the colonnades. On its western side there was the coloumn of Justinian which was as high as the dome of Hagia Sophia. (nearly 50m). The coloumn was made of brick and covered with a bronze sheating. On the top of the coloumn there was the statue of Justinian on the horseback who reigned between 527 and 565. This monument could be seen from an important distance from the sea and the city. (more…)

Hippodrome and Obelisk of Theodosius, Polat Utku Kayrak

This first field trip was a great experience for me although I am a Turkish citizen and used to go those areas when I was younger. Our field trip started just at the outside of Hagia Sophia and continued with an area near an open-air theatre that few people know about the importance of that particular area. After that, we also visited a place just behind the Palace of Justice and Mosaic Museum. Also when I’ve found myself in an underground tunnel with no light and proper reconstruction, I hardly believed myself that the city I live in has that kind of ancient, complicated and mystical structures. (more…)

The Hidden History of Istanbul – Andrea Hague

Our Late Antique & Byzantine art history class traveled to Sultanahmet two Saturdays ago to see for ourselves what remained of what we have read about and discussed in class. As we waited in front of the Hagia Sophia for everyone to arrive, Dr. Ricci repeated what we had learned in class, that we were standing had been the Augusteon, the forum where Justinian had placed his great equestrian statue. And yet, even as we were standing there staring up at the church that he had built, I did not feel that much more connected to that time period than when I had studied the diagrams in class. In place of the Augusteon there is still a plaza of sorts, but nothing remains of its Byzantine past. This disconnect that I experienced as I stood in what I knew had once been the Augusteon continued throughout the day. Even in the places where we were still able to see remnants of the city’s early history, it was difficult to put them into context. (more…)

The Hippodrome and Its Monuments – Ayse Yucel

Constantinople is former capital of the Byzantine Empire, which was founded at A.D. 330 as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Constantine I. After Constantine I named the city with his own. Constantinople was the largest and most pompous European city of the middle Ages. Constantinople shared the glories and descents of the Byzantine Empire. The city witnessed tough wars so in 5th century Theodosius II started o built giant walls surrounding the city in order to protect it from the enemies coming from the sea. Constantine I finished the construction of the wall, which was one of a kind for that century. There are lots o important structures (beside the city wall) built in Constantinople, which gave the city its prominence. (more…)

Serhat Goncal – A fieldtrip in Sultanahmet

Living 22 years in İstanbul and being a native of Istanbul I have been only one time in Sultanahmet Meydanı but I have been several times in Sultanahmet to eat dinner in Sultahahmet Koftecisi without caring the historical meanings of Sultanahmet. That clearly show the consciousness of history of native of Istanbul. I think the reason of that is living in a developing country in which people are fighting with other different vital problems creating by our own political strategy and also I think that surrounding with a historical values in every part of our countries by different ancient civilizations. Both of the reasons decline our historical consciousness that make us unconscious about the history. (more…)

Blog Post on the Hippodrome, David Bergstein

Our field trip began at the Augustaion Square, directly outside the Hagia Sophia. In Byzantium the Augusteon served a similar function as it does today: a public forum, a meeting space and a center of commercial activity. After the Nika Riot the square was re-built by Justinian (along with the Hagia Sophia), and until the iconoclast period it was full of statues. During the Byzantine era the Augustaion square was surrounded by the Palace of the Patriarchate, the main Gate of the Great Palace, the Senate, Palace of Magnaura (the diplomatic palace), the bath of Zeuxipphos, the Hippodrome and the Basilica Cistern. The centrality of the square makes it easy to imagine that the Augustaion must have been full of activity. (more…)

THE GREAT PALACE AND MOSAIC PERISTYLE – Romina Habib

THE GREAT PALACE AND MOSAIC PERISTYLE

The Great Palace of Byzantium was built by Constantine the Great, on the slopes of one of the ancient hills of Constantinople, after he made this city the capital of the Roman Empire in AD 330. The palace was located between the ancient Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia church and Marmara Sea, just under today’s Arasta Bazaar and behind the Blue Mosque.
Constantine the Great built his residence on the east side of the hippodrome and connected with spiral staircase ascending to emperor’s box (kathisma) in the hippodrome. The connection between the palace and hippodrome was a common feature of all roman imperial palaces. (more…)