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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…)

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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…)

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…)

Lesley Dudden “A Day in Sultanahmet”

When walking through modern day Sultanahmet under the shadows of the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque it is easy to walk through the Hippodrome area without stopping to marvel at the history behind the rectangular avenue looping around the perplexing monuments positioned along the center walkway. The Hippodrome of Constantinople would have been the center gathering point of the city. The area has witnessed sporting entertainment, such as chariot races, along with imperial proclamations, and civil unrest (more…)