• DATE: 12.12.2018
The Legendary Story of the “Obelisk of Sultanahmet”

The Legendary Story of the “Obelisk of Sultanahmet”

Once upon a time, “Obelisk”, standing on the wall of Spina in the Hippodrome that locates in Sultanahmet square was one of the oldest monuments in Istanbul. Since Spina wall was in the middle of car races, not all the monuments but Sultan ahmet Obelisk, Serpentine Column and Walled Obelisk have remained their existence so far.

Despite being called simply “Obelisk” among the people, “Obelisk” which is an ancient Egypt work can be mentioned as “Obelisk of Theodosius”. Some people think that it is constructed by the Pharaoh Thutmose III in honor of the victories won in Asia, whereas the others say it is erected in Karnak temple for the sake of 30 th anniversary of his reign. the work which is originally 30m tall was made of red granite.

As for the story of being moved to Istanbul in Rome, we have to go back to 4 th century AD. Constantinos II (the son of the Roman emperor Constantinos) had the Obelisk brought to the city of Alexandria. According to some historians, his aim was to move it to Istanbul but he could not make it unlike other historians thinking that his goal is to have it built in Alexandria. Although it is not known for certain by whom and how it was brought in Istanbul, writing on that obelisk shows that it was waiting on the ground for a time. It is also written in several sources that Emperor Julianus got some special ships built to move this 200-tonne- monument from Alexandria to Istanbul.

Finally, in the period of Theodosius I, obelisk got the place on the Wall of Spina (390 AD). It is said that special railways had been built to move obelisk from the coast of Marmara to the square of
Sultanahmet. The obelisk is 20 m tall at the present time and the pieces in the gaps are not known. Even if historians think that it might have been broken during the move, they have no evidence on what the broken parts are. It may have lost or left where it was broken. Additionally, it is also claimed that a bronze sphere was attached by the Theodosius on the obelisk;
however, it fell down because of an earthquake and it was never put there again



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