Sultan Ahmet Square
The ancient Hippodrome, the
scene of chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life, stood in
the open space in front of the Blue Mosque, an area now
called Sultanahmet. Of the monuments which once decorated it, only three
remain: the Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze
Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine.
Remains from the curved-end section of the Hippodrome's wall can be seen
on the southwest side of these three monuments. Today, the square forms
the center of Istanbul's historical, cultural and tourism activities. You
should take particular note of the surrounding wooden houses, particularly
the l8th century ones on Sogukçesme Street. Delightfully restored, they
have new life as small hotels and one houses a fascinating library of
books on Istanbul.