Istanbul ATTRACTIONS See all

Hippodrome (At Meydani)

Originally built in the third century, the Hippodrome of Constantinople was the sporting and cultural center of the former Byzantine capital for over 1,000 years. With a U-shaped race track and two levels of spectator galleries, the Hippodrome likely held more than 100,000 people. While the Byzantine emperors (and later the Ottoman sultans) took great pride in the Hippodrome and devoted significant efforts to embellishing it, little remains of the original structure today.

Sultan Ahmet Square (Sultanahmet Meydani or At Meydani)now covers the former site of the Hippodrome and largely follows its ground plan and dimensions.  Pavement marks the course of the old race track and several interesting monuments remain as well.  You can’t miss the towering Obelisk of Theodosius, the oldest monument in all of Istanbul. Made of pink granite, it was originally erected at the Amun Re temple at Karnak in Egypt, but was brought to Istanbul by the Emperor Theodosius in the fourth century.  South of the Obelisk, you will find a spiral column that once formed part of a golden basin brought to the city by Constantine the Great from the temple of Apollo in Delphi. You can also see what is known as the Walled Obelisk – the stone core of a 10th century obelisk that was once covered with bronze plaques. At the base of the obelisks and column, you can see where the original ground level of the Hippodrome once stood, about 2.5 meters below ground.

Near the northern entrance to the square, you will find the Kaiser Wilhelm’s Fountain, a stone gazebo with a mosaic-tiled dome that was a gift from the Kaiser in 1901.

Practical Information

Located in the heart of Istanbul’s primary tourist district, Sultan Ahmet Square is bordered by Atmeydani Sokak and Atmeydani Caddesi. The northern entrance is across from one of the most famous sites in Istanbul – the Blue Mosque.  If you aren’t staying in the area, you can take the tram to the Sultanahmet stop from elsewhere in the city and from there, it is just a short walk to Sultan Ahmet Square.

Tours & Tickets

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

4.5 star rating: Recommended 1079 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 Super Saver: City Sightseeing Tour plus Turkish Dinner and Show

4.5 star rating: Recommended 63 Reviews

Experience the best of Istanbul on this unforgettable experience that combines two best-selling tours at a saving of 10%! Start with a full-day city ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 12 hours (approx.)

From USD $160.00
$165.00 Save $5.00

4-Day ANZAC Tour: Istanbul, Gallipoli and Troy

4.5 star rating: Recommended 3 Reviews

If you only have a few days in Turkey and want to see the major highlights, this is the tour for you. This four-day trip takes you to Troy, Gallipoli and ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 4 days / 3 nights

From USD $405.00

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

Istanbul Small-Group Walking Tour: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Grand Bazaar

4 star rating: Recommended 28 Reviews

See all the top Istanbul attractions in one day on this small-group walking tour, led by an expert local guide. Focusing on the Sultanahmet area of this ...  Read more

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

From USD $82.21

Small-Group Istanbul Walking Tour: Hagia Sophia Museum and the Blue Mosque

4.5 star rating: Recommended 25 Reviews

Visit Istanbul’s must-see sites on this 3.5-hour small-group walking tour of the city. With an expert guide at your side explaining Istanbul’s contrasting ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $41.11

10-Day Western Black Sea Tour from Istanbul

The Western Black Sea is a treasure of wonder usually unvisited by foreigners. Visit the wondrous Abant and its many lakes. Safranbolu which is one of the ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 10 days (approx.)

From USD $1,140.42

12 Days Aegean Star Honeymoon Tour From Istanbul

If you are looking for something special and want to visit the best beaches of Turkey, then look no further. The best tour in Turkey, including Istanbul - ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 12 days (approx.)

From USD $1,818.09

3-Day Small-Group Istanbul Tour: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace

3 star rating: Worth doing 2 Reviews

Get to know Istanbul with a guide and independently on this 3-day tour. On one day, enjoy a full-day tour of Istanbul’s top attractions, including visits to ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 3 days (approx.)

From USD $276.00

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