Discover Sultanahmet Square: The Heart of Istanbul’s History

Many of the must-visit places are located in Sultanahmet Square. If you haven’t visited these places yet, you should start with them. If you have already visited some of them and are wondering “Where can I visit in Sultanahmet Square?”, then this article is perfect for you.

A drone view of the Sultanahmet Square, showing the Blue Mosque and the Bosphorus.

Sultanahmet Square, a symbol of Istanbul, is a central location that everyone must know. It has an important history as a square where horse races were held between the Byzantines and the Ottomans (Hippodrome). The square has witnessed many events in its 1800-year history.

Many events took place here, such as the hanging of Byzantine soldiers and the organization of fairs and entertainment.

It’s important to learn about these historical areas in the square. The symbol of the square is the magnificent Blue Mosque, which is known for its architectural beauty.

What to Do in Sultanahmet Square?

After the must visits, one of the first places to see when visiting Sultanahmet Square is the fountain built during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The fountain is an important historical piece with its finely carved reliefs.

The Tapu and Kadastro Directorate located ahead has also been renovated as a museum in the form of an old building.

Obelisk of Theodosius, one of the most senior monuments, is also in this square.

You should definitely visit Pargalı İbrahim Mehmet Pasha’s palace.

Serpent Column, also known as the Bronze Nail, is a historical artifact near the Obelisk of Theodosius.

Another piece in the square is the Walled Obelisk, which was built between the 4th and 5th centuries. It is also known as the Constantine Obelisk and is 32 meters high.

Obelisk of Theodosius: Ancient Egyptian Monument

People show great interest in standing stones

The Obelisk was built in the 15th century BC by the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III in the southern part of the Karnak Temple.

In AD 357, Roman Emperor Constantius II had it transported to the city of Alexandria via the Nile River.

Emperor Theodosius I had it brought to Istanbul by ships in AD 390 and erected it in the Hippodrome where it stands today.

Originally 30 meters high and made of red Aswan granite, the obelisk was damaged during transport and now stands at a height of 24.87 meters, including its base.

The stone’s actual height is 18.45 meters without the base. The obelisk has a relief of a council and a battle scene on two sides, with Latin and Greek inscriptions on the other two sides.

Serpent Column

People visiting the Serpent Column

The Serpent Column is a Greek monument made of bronze.

This unique monument, one of the largest and oldest to survive from the Classical Istanbul period, features three intertwined python snakes.

It was believed to possess magical powers, protecting the city from pests and insects.

Today, only a five-meter section of the monument remains, with its lower and upper parts broken. While two of the snake heads are missing, the third can be seen at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

German Fountain

Green dome, white exterior paint, and gold-colored interior ceiling color of the German Fountain.

The Neo-Byzantine German Fountain is adorned with golden mosaics and made from precious materials.

The construction began in Germany, and its pieces were shipped to Istanbul upon completion. The Germans covered all costs.

The fountain was presented to the people of Istanbul by German Emperor Wilhelm II during his visit as a symbol of Ottoman-German friendship.

In return, the Ottomans agreed to the construction of a railway line between Istanbul and Baghdad. The fountain thus bears political significance.

Google Maps: German Fountain

What Else Can I do in Sultanahmet Square?

People are spending time in a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the Blue Mosque and the Sultanahmet area

Numerous historical cafes and restaurants surround the square and the mosque. Enjoy local flavors in the historic atmosphere, or try traditional dishes at the local eateries.

Marmara University’s rectorate building, a historical structure, is also in the square.

In addition, the square’s complexes, bazaars, mosques, tombs, and madrasas should not be missed.

Old shops can be visited to hear stories about the square from local merchants.

Photographers will find great opportunities for capturing stunning shots.

Sultanahmet Square is always bustling, and exploring Istanbul here will offer a unique experience.

The Museum of Islamic Science and Technology is also in the square.

Both domestic and foreign tourists flock to Sultanahmet Square year-round to immerse themselves in the rich culture and history.

How to Get to Sultanahmet Square?

A red tram is passing through the train tracks in Sultanahmet Square

It is easy to reach Sultanahmet Square from almost any point in Istanbul.

You can take buses or the metrobus from various districts in Istanbul. For example, you can take the nearest metrobus and alight at Cevizlibağ Station. Then take the tram towards Kabataş and get off at Sultanahmet Mosque stop to reach the square easily.

As long as traffic isn’t too heavy, the journey should be quick and hassle-free.

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