Obelisk of Thutmose III
Base of the statues of Porphyrios, kept in the Istanbul Museum
The four bronze horses that used to be in the Hippodrome, today in Venice
The remains of the Sphendone
The neo-byzantine German Fountain
Main article: Obelisk of Theodosius
Another emperor to adorn the Hippodrome was Theodosius the Great, who in 390 brought an obelisk from Egypt and erected it inside the racing track. Carved from pink granite, it was originally erected at the Temple of Karnak in Luxor during the reign of Tuthmosis III in about 1490 BC. Theodosius had the obelisk cut into three pieces and brought to Constantinople. Only the top section survives, and it stands today where Theodosius placed it, on a marble pedestal. The obelisk has survived nearly 3,500 years in astonishingly good condition.
In the 10th century the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus built another obelisk at the other end of the Hippodrome. It was originally covered with gilded bronze plaques, but they were sacked by Latin troops in the Fourth Crusade. The stone core of this monument also survives, known as the Walled Obelisk.
Statues of Porphyrios
Seven statues were erected on the Spina of the Hippodrome in honour of Porphyrios, a legendary charioteer in his time who raced for the two parties which were called "Greens" and "Blues". None of these statues have survived. Only the bases of two of them have survived and are displayed in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.
The Hippodrome today
Today the area is officially called Sultan Ahmet Square, and is carefully maintained by the Turkish authorities. The course of the old racetrack has been indicated with paving, although the actual track is some two metres below the present surface. The surviving monuments of the Spina (the middle barrier of the racecourse), the two obelisks and the Serpentine Column, now sit in holes in a landscaped garden.
The German Fountain ("The Kaiser Wilhelm Fountain"), an octagonal domed fountain in neo-byzantine style, which was constructed by the German government in 1900 to mark the German Emperor Wilhelm II's visit to Istanbul in 1898, is located at the northern entrance to the Hippodrome area, right in front of the Blue Mosque.
The Hippodrome has never been systematically excavated by archaeologists. A portion of the substructures of the Sphendone (the curved end) became more visible in the 1980s with the clearing of houses in the area.
In 1993 an area in front of the nearby Sultanahmet Mosque (the Blue Mosque) was bulldozed in order to install a public toilet, uncovering several rows of seats and some columns from the Hippodrome. Investigation did not continue further, but the seats and columns were removed and can now be seen in Istanbul's museums. It is possible that much more of the Hippodrome's remains still lie beneath the parkland of Sultanahmet.