After visiting the Blue Mosque, we walked around the tourist area, checking out the other landmarks. In the plaza area near the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, there are these obelisks and other cool structures. One was the Obelisk of Theodosius, an Ancient Egyptian obelisk of Pharaoh Thutmose III re-erected in the Hippodrome of Constantinople (known today as At Meydanı or Sultanahmet Meydanı) by the Roman emperor Theodosius I in the 4th century AD.
The obelisk was first set up by Thutmose III (1479–1425 BC) to the south of the seventh pylon of the great temple of Karnak. The Roman emperor Constantius II (337-361 AD) had it and another obelisk transported along the river Nile to Alexandria to commemorate his ventennalia or 20 years on the throne in 357. The other obelisk was erected on the spina of the Circus Maximus in Rome in the autumn of that year, and is today known as the Lateran obelisk, whilst the obelisk that would become the obelisk of Theodosius remained in Alexandria until 390, when Theodosius I (378-392 AD) had it transported to Constantinople and put up on the spina of the Hippodrome there.
Near the Obelisk of Theodosius is the Walled Obelisk. The 105 foot-high obelisk was constructed of roughly cut stones by Constantine VII. At that time, it was reportedly decorated with gilded bronze plaques that portrayed the victories of Basil I, the grandfather of Constantine VII. Also there was a sphere at the top of obelisk. However, reportedly these gilded bronze plaques were stolen and melted down by Fourth Crusaders in 1204.
Since young Janissaries liked to use the obelisk to climb and show their prowess, the obelisk suffered further damage to its surface.
Soon, though, the cold started to creep deeper into our bones. There were a few other structures to check out, but we needed a break. We did just fly from Kenya after all. We took a short break before setting out to find a warm place to grab a quick snack.
As a reminder that everywhere in the world there’s strife, there was a message sprayed painted on the wall just a block from Hotel Spectra. Turkey is a secular country, but it is a Muslim country. And though it’s not necessarily an enemy of Israel, it’s not necessarily friends either.
Earlier, we bought tickets to take a river tour to see Istanbul from the water. On the way back to where we were supposed to meet, we passed by the German Fountain.
The German Fountain (Turkish: Alman Çeşmesi German: Deutscher Brunnen) is a gazebo styled fountain in the northern end of old hippodrome (Sultanahmet Square), Istanbul, Turkey and across from the Mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed I. It was constructed to commemorate the second anniversary of German Emperor Wilhelm II’s visit to Istanbul in 1898. It was built in Germany, then transported piece by piece and assembled in its current site in 1900. The neo-Byzantine style fountain’s octagonal dome has eight marble columns, and dome’s interior is covered with golden mosaics.
When we got back to where to meet for the Bosphorus Boat Tour, there was a lot of people waiting. Mostly foreigners, as in non-Turks, as well as some Turks. We waited around for everyone to get there before heading to the boat. It was interesting to see so many different nationalities and head so many different languages. Even more interesting, to me at least, was seeing a foreigner rocking Redskins gear. I think.