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Nemrut Dag (Mt Nemrud) is a mountain measuring 2,150meters in height. It is located near the village of Karadut in Kahta county in the province of Adiyaman.   Kings of the Kommagene dynasty from 80 B.C. to 72 A.D ruled Adiyaman and its vicinity.  This kingdom, whose capital was Samosata (now called Samsat), was founded around 80 B.C. by Mithridates 1, father of Antiochos 1. The kingdom's independence came to an end with its defeat by Roman legions in the last of the Kommagene wars and it became part of the Roman province of Syria. At its height, Kommagene extended from the Toros (Taurus) mountains on the north to the Firat (Euphrates) river on the east and southeast, to present-day Gaziantep on the south, and to the county of Pazarcik in Kahramanmaras on the west.The magnificent ruins on the summit of Mt Nemrud are not those of an inhabited site however. They are instead the famous tumulus (burial mound) and hierotheseion (a word that is derived from Greek and refers to the sacred burial precinct of the royal family, and whose use is known only in Kommagene) of King Antiochos I of Kommagene, who ruled from 69 to 36 B.C. In a cult inscription, King Antiochos declares that he had the site built for the ages and generations that were to follow him "as a debt of thanks to the gods and to his deified ancestors for their manifest assistance". The king also declares that his aim was to provide for the people an "ex- ample of the piety that the gods commanded be shown towards the gods and towards ancestors.  "Professor K. Dorner has traced the genealogy of Antiochos 1, who was himself born of a Persian father and a Seleucid-Macedonian mother. His findings indicate that Antiochos I of Commagene claimed descent, through his father Mithridates, from Dareios (Darius) 1 (522-486 B.C.) and, through his mother Laodike, from Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.)   Mt Nemrud is located 100 kms from Adiyaman. No reference is made to it in ancient sources. Karl Sester, a German road engineer, rediscovered it in modern times in 1881. An expedition to Mt Nemrud was organized in 1882-83 by Karl Humann and Otto Puchstein, who published their findings in a book entitled Reisen in Kleinasien und Nordsyrien (Berlin 1890). Osman Hamdi Bey and Osgan Effendi also investigated the site in 1883 and their findings were published in a book entitled Le Tumulus de Nemroud Dagh (Istanbul 1883). F. Karl Dorner and Rudolf Naumann mounted an expedition to Mt Nemrud in 1938. Dorner returned to the site after 1951 and began working there with the US  researcher Teresa Goell. In 1984, a Turkish-German team led by Professor Dorner successfully carried out restoration work at the site.  Excavation and restoration work has been continuing since 1989 under the direction of Sencer Sahin.  In 1989, Nemrut Dag and its environs were declared a national park.  The tumulus on the summit of Mt Nemrud measures 50 meters high and covers an area 150 meters in diameter. It is formed from stones the size of a fist and is bounded on the east, west, and north by terraced courts carved out of the native rock. The eastern court was the center of the sacred precinct and is the most important group of sculptural and architectural works. It is surrounded on the west by colossal statues, on the east by a fire altar in the shape of a stepped pyramid, and on the north and south by low walls of orthostats (upright stone slabs) standing on a long, narrow base
Hippodrome of Constantinople
The Hippodrome of Constantinople (Turkish: Sultanahmet Meydanı, At Meydanı) was ahorse-racing track that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire and the largest city in Europe. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydanı (Sultan Ahmet Square) in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with only a few fragments of the original structure surviving. It is sometimes also called Atmeydanı (Horse Square) in Turkish.

The Hippodrome today, with the Walled Obelisk in the foreground and Thutmosis' Obelisk on the right
Location of the Hippodrome in Constantinople
Procession of the guilds in front of the Sultan in the Hippodrome, Ottoman miniature from the Surname-i Vehbi (1582)

The base of the Obelisk of Thutmosis III showing Emperor Theodosius as he offers a laurel wreath to the victor from the Kathisma at the Hippodrome


The Walled Obelisk



Panoramic view over modern Sultanahmet by night, with Hagia Sophia to the left and the Hippodrome in the middle (full image)

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[4] 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.

 Walled Obelisk

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.