Byzantine Hippodrome Guided Tour

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€12 Regular Ticket Value

Feel ready to experience a breathtaking tour of the Byzantine Hippodrome in Istanbul!

This massive arena, built-in Byzantine Era, has become one of the most visited attractions through its remarkable historical texture. This stadium of ancient Byzantine, today called Sultan Ahmet Meydanı, has welcomed various civilizations during the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods.

With its fruitful multicultural history, the Hippodrome gives you the chance to experience the past. That's why you should discover it at every step. Istanbul Tourist Pass guides will provide you with a well-organized guiding tour to support your trip to such an enchanting historical site. When visiting the Byzantine Hippodrome, the Istanbul Tourist Pass capable and well-informed guides will take you back in time!

About The Byzantine Hippodrome Guided Tour

Mobile ticketing - No need for printed voucher, we're digital!

Duration - 20 Minutes  Check Time table to see starting times

Instant confirmation - The tour doesn't require a reservation in advance.

Guide - English

 

Highlights 

Discover Byzantine Hippodrome with a local guide

Learn More About Byzantine Hippodrome stories and legends!

 

Includes

An amazing guided tour of Byzantine Hippodrome

Professional English speaking tour guide

 

The Byzantine Hippodrome

The Byzantine Hippodrome has had a fruitful history throughout the centuries. With its delicate and sensational historical riches, the Hippodrome has become one of the most well-known attractions in Istanbul. Thanks to its mysterious multicultural background, most people from different cultures are excited to travel through time in the Hippodrome.

Roman and Byzantine Periods

The Hippodrome takes place in the heart of Istanbul and welcomes its visitors accompanied by several architectural artifacts. The name of the hippodrome comes from Greek; hippo (horse) and dromos (path or way). This ancient site located in SultanAhmet Square was for chariot and horse races in the Byzantine era. However, this open-air circus also became a home to celebrations, gladiatorial games, torture stages for the inmates, and protests. Hippodromes were common structures in the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine eras.

Once the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus conquered Constantinopolis, he built many featured structures. One of them was the Hippodrome, and this beautifully designed area became the most significant gathering point on many occasions. At first, the hippodrome was very small, but then Constantine the Great enlarged and renovated this arena. He also declared the city the capital of the Byzantine Empire. 

The Hippodrome was the symbol of power for the Byzantine empire. Several featured objects were brought in to show the strength of the empire to the world. Luckily, two of these monuments have successfully survived throughout the years; the Serpent Column from Delfi and the Egyptian obelisk named Obelisk of Thutmosis III. 

Ottoman Period

The Hippodrome was also important in the Ottoman era. In the Ottoman period, the hippodrome was not used for its intended purposes. It was mainly used as a square, and they named this historically enriched area "At Meydanı" (Horse Square). 

During the Ottoman era, the hippodrome was also a gathering point for the civilians. The Ottoman sultans paid attention to the crowd gathering whenever it happened. The crowd could have signaled the disturbances or riots. 

The Byzantine Hippodrome experienced a bit of destruction in the Ottoman period. The construction of the Blue Mosque and İbrahim Paşa Palace caused damage to the place.

Hours & Meeting

Mondays & Tuesdays: No Tour

Wednesday to Sundays: 16:00PM

The approximate duration is 20 minutes

Please meet your guide at the meeting point 10 minutes before the tour start time.

Click for Meeting Point's Picture.

View Timetable

How To Get There?

Where to meet

The tour starts at the main bus stop for BUSFORUS ISTANBUL at Sultanahmet Square. Look out for the red double-decker buses. It's about 20 metres (65 ft) in front of the Hagia Sophia Museum.


Getting there

To get to Sultanahmet Square, take the T1 Bağılar - Kabataş tram and get off at Sultanahmet station. Walk towards Hagia Sophia and keep an eye out for the Big Bus stop.

Our guides carry a white flag with Istanbul Tourist Pass logo.

Get Directions

Important Information

The guided tours are performed in English.

The tour starts at the main bus stop for BUSFORUS ISTANBUL at Sultanahmet Square. Click "Get Directions" above to find the location on Google Maps.

The tour doesn't require a reservation in advance.

Children will be asked to present their passport at the entrance to confirm their age.

Byzantine Hippodrome Guided Tour FREE With

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Byzantine Hippodrome Guided Tour is Included in Istanbul Tourist Pass®️ with English speaking Professional Guide.

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All About Byzantine Hippodrome Guided Tour

Fascinating Facts About The Byzantine Hippodrome

  • One of the most famous monuments, the Obelisk of Thutmosis III, was brought into Constantinople by the Byzantine emperor Theodosius I. He ordered the Egyptian Obelisk to be set up inside the hippodrome. This well-preserved obelisk is one of the twenty-nine Egyptian obelisks in the world and still standing in the Hippodrome.
  • Chariot racing was very popular among the Roman citizens, so many people were betting on the teams that took part in the races. It became a common entertainment place for people living in Constantinople.
  • During the Nika riots, the Hippodrome was full of angry crowds. That historical event took place in the heart of Istanbul and resulted in the massive death of people.
  • The charioteers were seen as celebrities among the citizens, and Porphyrius the Charioteer was one of the famous chariot racers. He was also well-known for the seven monuments built in his honor in the spine of the Hippodrome. 

Top Things To Do At The Byzantine Hippodrome

  • The Hippodrome is a large open-air garden. So you can take a guided tour of the hippodrome to experience its historical value and explore At Meydanı.
  • You should see the notable trio of monuments in the hippodrome; the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Colossus (the Column of Constantine Porphyrogenitus).
  • You can also visit the other landmarks of Istanbul that are located around Sultan Ahmet Square;
  • German Fountain
  • Blue Mosque
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
  • The Hurrem Sultan Hamam

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Byzantine Hippodrome Guided Tour Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I Visit the Byzantine Hippodrome?

Even if its purposes have changed in time, this ancient arena has successfully stood still. As being located in the heart of Istanbul, it has been the host to several unique monuments and different civilizations throughout the years.

How Much Time Required For Viewing the Hippodrome?

The Byzantine Hippodrome is an open-air green garden with no entry ticket requirement. However, since it has an enriched history back in time, it would be better for you to enjoy this historical place with a well-organized guiding tour.

When can I join the Hippodrome tour with the guide?

You can find detailed information about the tour times in the "Hours & Meeting" section. Please, meet your tour guide at the determined place 10 minutes before the tour begins.

Where can I meet with the Guide?

You can find the meeting location in the "Hours & Meeting" section. Our guides carry a white flag with the logo of Istanbul Tourist Pass.

Are There Any Hotels Nearby The Hippodrome?

Since the hippodrome is the most popular area among tourists, you can find many accommodation options available for your budget.

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