Istanbul Sultanahmet Photo Gallery

The Hippodrome was originally built in the 3rd century. Once thought to hold 100,000, the stadium is no more than a park today. In this photo, the octagonal German Fountain was a gift from Emperor Wilhelm II to the Sultan in 1898.

The Egyptian Obelisk was taken from the Temple of Karnak in Luxor in AD 390. Believed to date from 1500 BC, the obelisk was carved to celebrate the victories of Pharaoh Thutmosis III. However, only the upper third remains from the original move from Egypt in the 4th century.

The Column of Constantine is in far worse condition, stripped of its bronze cover by the Crusaders.

Today's Hippodrome is a big public space where tour groups parade down to view the obelisks and enter the Blue Mosque.

The Blue Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I in the early 1600's as an imperial mosque. With 6 minarets, it stirred up rivalry with Mecca, which was not kindly received.

The Blue Mosque is actually not blue on the outside. The name comes from the blue Iznik tiles, which reflect natural light in a bluish tone.

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