Divan Yolu begins at Haghia Sophia and extends to Topkapi Gate of Theodosion Walls, was the most important road of the capital during the Byzantine period. Today it is the street used for reaching the beauties in the environs: Beyazit Mosque, Kapalı Carsi (Grand Bazaar), At Meydam (Hippodrome) and Sultan Ahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque) Cagaloglu.
At Meydam (Hippodrome)
Its construction began in 203 by Septimus Severus and it was reconstructed as hippodrome during the reign of Constantine the Great (324-337). It was a place for official celebrations and parades. Besides chariot races, circuses and political meetings used take place here. In one of them “Blues” and “Greens” had fought; and in Nika Revolt in 532, 30,000 people that rebelled against Emperor Justinianus gathered and were killed here in At Meydam. Again on these grounds, Sultan Mahmut U killed the
Janissaries that rebelled in 1826. The square was 400m long 76 and 120m wide. There were 40 rows that could totally host 100,000 spectators. The central axis of the arena is determined by three statues. The first of them is the Egyptian Obelisk that had already been 1900 years old when it was brought from Kamak, was erected here in 390 after broken apart from its base. The original weight of the stone was three times more than its present weight that is 800 tons. The relief scenes on the base represent Emperor Theodosius and his family.
The second statue is Serpentine Column (it is better to say ‘the rest of the column’) from Temple of Apollo at Delphi; one of the missing serpent heads was found and kept in Archaeological Museum. The last statue in the arena, Colossus, is not in its original condition. The horsemen of the Fourth Crusade had removed the gold plated bronze panels of the column and took it to Venice with the famous carriage quartet statue of Lysippos that was also made of bronze plated with gold. The four antique horses are on the west gate of San Marco Church since then. (Sultanahmet).
Innumerable people; sellers on the street, the customers and visitors of Kapah (Jarsi pass through this square that is between Galata Koprusu (Bridge) and Yeni Camii (Mosque). It is not surprising that the first and last stops of many buses and minibuses are in this square.