Category Archives: Hippodrome

Attractions Within Sultanahmet, Istanbul

October 2017

Most of your favorite attractions in Istanbul would most likely be located within the Sultanahmet vicinity and are within walking distances. Choosing a hotel close to this area makes sense as you’ll save on transport cost. You’ll find lots of hotels to suit your budget in Sultanahmet and the tram that runs through it makes traveling around Istanbul convenient.

The major attractions in Sultanahmet are :
1. The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque)
2. The Hippodrome
3. Colourful Building
4. Arasta Bazaar
5. Topkapi Palace
6. Hagia Sophia
7. Basilica Cistern
8. Gulhane Park

The attractions are listed in a sequence that will avoid uphill walk. Get off the at the Sultanahmet tram stop for your first attraction, The Blue Mosque a short walk away. The last attraction, Gulhane Park will be a downhill walk from Basilica Cistern. If you intend to do your visit in reverse order, the walk from Gulhane Park to Basilica Cistern will be a taxing uphill walk, let alone if you have to push a wheelchair.

(The famous Grand Bazaar is a brisk seven minutes slight uphill walk from Sultanahmet tram stop or you can take the tram and get off one stop ahead at Cemberlitas).

Attractions in Sultanahmet area

Attractions in Sultanahmet area. Click to enlarge.

1. Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque)
Alighting from your tram at Sultanahmet tram stop, walk across Sultan Ahmet Square to The Blue Mosque, your first attraction. Do bear in mind that you will be visiting a mosque and you should be properly attired. Being a working mosque, non-Muslims will not be allowed to enter before or after the start of prayers. Visit this site for visiting hours for non-Muslims.

Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque)

The Blue Mosque as seen from across Sultanahmet Park.

Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque)

Entrance into the Mosque from the inner courtyard.

2. The Hippodrome
Exiting The Blue Mosque, head left for The Hippodrome. These are two columns of tall ‘pillars’ one being the ‘Obelisk of Theodosius’ and the other ‘Walled Obelisk’. In-between, you find the ‘Serpent Column’.

The Hippodrome

Walled Obelisk

The Hippodrome

The first of the two pillars you’ll reach coming from the Blue Mosque – Obelisk of Theodosius

3. Colourful Building
Not far from the Hippodrome walking towards Arasta Bazaar, you’ll see these colourful building. I’m not sure what this is but you’ll see a restaurant besides it, with the dining area extending well behind this multi coloured facade. Nice to have selfies here.

Colourful building

A restaurant is to the right. It’s dining area extending well behind the multi coloured facade.

From another angle.

4. Arasta Bazaar
Walking straight on from the colourful building, will take you to Arasta Bazaar. As the name implies, it’s a bazaar – a rather less visited, less crowded bazaar. Prices are a little on the high side here and varieties aren’t that varied. Wouldn’t miss much if you skipped this.

Arasta Bazaar

One of the entrances to Arasta Bazaar.

Arasta Bazaar

A rather ‘high-end’ bazaar feeling here.

5. Topkapi Palace
Exiting Arasta Bazaar from the other end, head for Topkapi Palace 1st courtyard entrance, about 450m away. This is one of Istanbul’s main attraction with lots and lots of visitors during peak season. You’ll be well advised to get online tickets if you intend to go in.

Topkapi Palace.

It’s another 400m to this 2nd courtyard entrance into the palace grounds.

Topkapi Palace

Palace building inside the complex.

6. Hagia Sophia
Another main attraction of Istanbul is Hagia Sophia. As with Topkapi Palace, the ticket crowd can be maddening at Hagia Sophia. Obtaining online tickets is a clever option.

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia from the outside.

Hagia Sophia

View of the ground floor from the upper terrace.

7. Basilica Cistern
Across the road from Hagia Sophia is Basilica Cistern, an underground chamber capable of holding 80,000 cubic meters of water. Although this is a lesser attraction, crowd do build up at times. Unfortunately, you would not be able to get online tickets for Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern

Pillars inside Basilica Cistern.

Basilica Cistern

One of the two Medusa heads inside Basilica Cistern.

8. Gulhane Park
If you are visiting Istanbul in April through May, do pay a visit to Gulhane Park to see the beautiful tulips. The park isn’t too big, thus you get to see varieties of tulips but not get overwhelmed. A lot of benches in the park for you to rest. No entrance fees to enter.

Gulhane Park

The multi coloured tulips in Gulhane Park.

Gulhane Park

Black tulips in Gulhane Park.

Night pictures of Sultanahmet attractions. Due to the close proximity of our hotel, Star Holiday Hotel, we can choose what time to photograph these attractions.

Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque)

Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque).

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia.

The ‘Serpent Column’ of The Hippodrome in-between Obelisk of Theodosius and Walled Obelisk.

Hippodrome

Day 22 – Hippodrome, Istanbul, Turkey

April 2015

Quick links : Photo spot  Istanbul secret
The Hippodrome (Of Constantinople) is located in what is now known as Sultan Ahmet Square just behind the Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque. It was formerly a sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. The three most significant remnants are the two stone pillars known as Obelisk of Thutmose III and Walled Obelisk and the bronze Serpent Column minus the serpent’s head.

If you have chosen to stay at Star Holiday Hotel, from the entrance door it’s probably less than a minute walk to the square. Before reaching the first pillar, to your left will be the Blue Mosque.

Hippodrome

Walking route from Star Holiday across Sultan Ahmet Square to Hippodrome and ‘colourful’ restaurants.

Hippodrome

The Hippodrome as seen from Star Holiday Hotel’s breakfast terrace. The Blue Mosque minaret is to the left.

Hippodrome

The Hippodrome as approached from Star Holiday Hotel. The Blue mosque will be to your left.

Hippodrome

You’ll get to see the Obelisk (stone pillar) of Thutmose III first.

Hippodrome

In the centre is the bronze Serpent Column without the serpent’s head.

Hippodrome

And to the far end, the Walled Obelisk.

Hippodrome

Obelisk of Thutmose III at night. Star Holiday Hotel is so close by, you can come anytime and as many time you chose.

Hippodrome

The Walled Obelisk at night.

Towards the end of Walled Obelisk, turn left and you’ll see a row of restaurants painted in multi colours. This is something new, we have never seen before and we consider this as a photo spot as well as a new Istanbul secret.

Sultanahmet photo spot

Colourful restaurants.

Sultanahmet photo spot

A new photo spot in Istanbul. Painting should be completed by the time you read this.