In Byzantine times, the Hippodrome was the heart of Constantinople's political and sporting life for 1000 years and in the Ottoman period, for another 500 years. It has been the scene of innumerable games and riots. Today, it's a city park and one of the most popular meeting places. The Ottomans called it At Meydani (The Horse Square) because of its function in the Ottoman times. The Hippodrome is home to three important monuments: the Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, the Column of Constantine, and the German Fountain.
The Obelisk, standing in the middle of the Hippodrome, was carved in Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Thutmosis III and was brought to Constantinople by Emperor Theodosius from the Amon-Re temple at Karnak at 390 AD.
Emperor Constantine had the Serpentine Column moved from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi in 330 AD and erected it in the middle of the Hippodrome. Missing now from the top of the column are three serpent heads thought to be stolen or destroyed by the end of the 17th century, except for one that is now on display at the nearby Istanbul Archeology Museums. The sculpture was originally made to celebrate the victory of the Greeks over the Persians in 478 BC.
The Column of Constantine was covered with bronze plates at some point, but they were destroyed by the Fourth Crusaders in 1204.
The German Fountain was a gift from the German Emperor Wilhelm II to the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II. Every piece of the fountain was transported from Germany and reassembled in its current place in 1900.