Walled Obelisk, Istanbul

Walled Obelisk, Istanbul

The Walled Obelisk, also known by names such as the Constantine Obelisk or the Masonry Obelisk, is a historical monument located at the south end of what was once the Hippodrome of Constantinople, now known as Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul. This area is a major tourist attraction, not only because of the obelisk itself but also due to its proximity to other famous landmarks including the Egyptian Obelisk, the German Fountain, and iconic structures like the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque.

The exact date of the Walled Obelisk's original construction remains a mystery. However, it underwent significant reconstruction in the 10th century under the directive of Emperor Constantine VII. This reconstruction effort saw the 32-meter (approximately 105 feet) tall structure being rebuilt with roughly cut stones. During this period, it was adorned with gilded bronze plaques that showcased the military triumphs of Basil I, who was Constantine VII's grandfather. A sphere placed atop the obelisk added to its grandeur.

Unfortunately, the Walled Obelisk's splendor was not to last. In 1204, during the Fourth Crusade, the obelisk was plundered, with its gilded bronze plaques being stolen and melted down. Adding to its woes, the obelisk also suffered surface damage inflicted by young Janissaries, members of the Ottoman Sultan's household troops, who would climb the monument to demonstrate their agility and strength.

Despite these challenges, the Walled Obelisk has endured through the centuries and continues to be a point of interest for countless tourists visiting Istanbul. Its historical significance and the stories of its past make it a captivating sight for those looking to delve into the rich history of one of the world's most historically significant cities.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Istanbul. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Walled Obelisk on Map

Sight Name: Walled Obelisk
Sight Location: Istanbul, Turkey (See walking tours in Istanbul)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Istanbul, Turkey

Create Your Own Walk in Istanbul

Create Your Own Walk in Istanbul

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Istanbul Introduction Walking Tour

Istanbul Introduction Walking Tour

Formerly known as “Byzantium”, “Constantinople” and “New Rome”, Istanbul is the main city of Turkey, straddling the Bosphorus Strait, and as such, bridging the gap between Europe and Asia, both geographically and culturally. This ancient transcontinental metropolis embraces cultural influences of the many empires and civilizations that once ruled and flourished on this land.

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles
Istanbul Old City Walking Tour

Istanbul Old City Walking Tour

Situated at the heart of Old Istanbul, the Sultanahmet neighborhood is a fascinating hub of historical timeline. Dramatically located on a peninsula pointing across the Bosphorus Strait to Asia, this area was formerly an administrative pole of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, and as such, reflects numerous influences of the cultures once prevalent here.

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Istanbul City Walls

Istanbul City Walls

One of the most elaborate fortification systems of ancient times, the Walls of Constantinople were built by Constantine the Great to protect the city, the then newly-established capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, from attacks by land and sea. Of these, only the Golden Gate, an old ceremonial gateway into the city, had survived by the late Byzantine Era when a new series of land walls were added...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 Km or 3.2 Miles
Old European Quarter Walk

Old European Quarter Walk

Back in the Ottoman era, the Beyoğlu neighborhood (then known as Pera) together with Galata formed the European Quarter of Istanbul. Home to embassies and trading centers, as well as the fine 19th-century, Parisian-style apartment houses, this area was much loved by the city's non-Islamic minorities.

Its growth was boosted by the opening of the Orient Express line, connecting Paris to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Bosphorus Coast Walking Tour

Bosphorus Coast Walking Tour

One of the planet's most praised stretches of water, the Bosphorus is a source of great pride for Istanbulites and of admiration for travelers. The 30-km strait dividing Europe and Asia and connecting the Marmara with the Black Sea is one of the city's highlights, having been for all ages the subject of legend and art.

This self-guided walk will take you along the coast so that you...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 Km or 3.7 Miles
Asian Side and Bosphorus Walking Tour

Asian Side and Bosphorus Walking Tour

Istanbul is the only megalopolis in the world that straddles two continents. The Bosphorus Strait splits Turkey's biggest city into two parts: European and Asian. The latter, known locally as Asya Yakası (“Asian Side”), or more commonly as Anadolu Yakası (“Anatolian Side”), is found east of the strait, geographically on the Asian mainland.

The vast Anatolian shore, wrongly...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles

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