Istanbul ATTRACTIONS See all

Egyptian Obelisk

The Egyptian Obelisk is also known as the Obelisk of Theodosius or the Obelisk of Thutmose III. The Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III originally ordered the construction of the obelisk in the 15th century B.C. at the temple of Karnak, near present-day Luxor. The Roman Emperor Constantius II transported the obelisk up the Nile River to Alexandria in the year 357 to commemorate his twentieth year in power. It remained there until Byzantine Emperor Theodosius moved it to Istanbul in 390 and erected it what was then known as the Hippodrome of Constantinople.

Built at the same time as the Lateran Obelisk that stands in the Circus Maximus in Rome, the Egyptian Obelisk was made of red granite from Aswan and once stood 30 meters tall. Due to damage to the base during transport, today it stands just under 20 meters high, not including its pedestal. The four sides of the obelisk feature inscriptions celebrating a military victory by Thutmose III in 1450 B.C.  and carvings on the marble pedestal date back to 390, when it was re-erected in the Hippodrome.

Practical Information

The Obelisk still stands on the site of the Hippodrome, now known as Sultan Ahmet Square (also At Meydani or Sultan Ahmet Meydani), not far from the Blue Mosque. Get there by taking the tram to the Sultanahmet stop.

Tours & Tickets

See all

Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

4.5 star rating: Recommended 1087 Reviews

Visit six top Istanbul attractions in one day on a full-day sightseeing tour of the city! The action-packed day includes a comprehensive tour of the historical ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $76.50
$85.00 Save $8.50

Private Tour: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour including Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace

4.5 star rating: Recommended 177 Reviews

Take a hassle-free tour of Istanbul's most famous attractions with your own private guide to lead the way. You'll enjoy personalized attention on your private ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $112.68

Istanbul Ottoman Tour: Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque

4 star rating: Recommended 29 Reviews

Spend the morning exploring Istanbul's Ottoman past at the enchanting Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque.

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $45.00

Private Tour: Istanbul’s Ottoman Experience Including Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque

4.5 star rating: Recommended 14 Reviews

Discover three top Istanbul attractions in the city’s UNESCO-listed Sultanahmet neighborhood on a 4-hour private tour! While learning about the Ottoman days of ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $38.75

See all

Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message