Obelisk of Thutmose III, Istanbul

Obelisk of Thutmose III, Istanbul

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Egyptian Obelisk history of an ancient skyscraper in Istanbul

Egyptian Obelisk in Istanbul was transported several times before reaching its current location in the Hippodrome (near the Blue Mosque).  This monolithic construction was made by the order of Egyptian pharaoh Thutmosis III in 1450s BC.  Later, in the year 390 Roman Emperor ordered to transport the obelisk to the Hippodrome of Constantinople and allegedly had it cut into three pieces for easy transportation. 

Obelisk of Thutmosis III in Istanbul

History & names

The Egyptian Obelisk now located in Istanbul is also known as the Obelisk of Thutmosis III, after the pharaoh who ordered its construction in the 15th century BC.  Later, a new name was used - the Obelisk of Theodosius, after Roman Emperor Theodosius the Great who brought the obelisk from Alexandria to Constantinople in 390.   

Obelisks in Egypt were erected to honor special events or victories of pharaohs.  Neighboring rulers borrowed this tradition and ordered obelisks to glorify state-important occasions as well.  Roman Emperor Constantius II, for example, ordered to transport the Obelisk from Karnak to Alexandria (territory of Egypt) to commemorate his 20th anniversary as an Emperor.  

Architecture & design of Egyptian Obelisk

The monument was made of red granite as most of the obelisks.  It's a tall narrow construction with four sides and a pyramid-shaped top finishing the structure.  

All the inscriptions are clearly distinguishable even today.  They record victory of pharaoh Thutmose III's over the state of Mitanni (Syria) in 1450s BC.

Obelisk was a symbol of sun.  The top part ensured catching rays of sun at all times thus honoring the Egyptian sun god.

The original obelisk was 30 meters (95 feet) high. ਍ue to several moves the construction you see now is only 19.59 meters in height plus the pedestal it stands on. 

Only two thirds of the construction from top survived the trip from Egypt to Constantinople.  The monument was cut into three pieces for easier transportation.  Lower part has been lost or damaged severely during the move, the survived part still stands in the Hippodrome square in Istanbul just the way it was placed by the Emperor in 390.    

Marble pedestal was especially built for placing the oversees wonder.  The entire pedestal is covered with images of imperial household and recorded transportation of the obelisk from Egypt to Constantinople.  

Karnak - Alexandria - Constantinople

The Egyptian Obelisk was originally built near Luxor city in Karnak Temple Complex in the southern Egypt.  In 357 it was moved 1000 km (621 miles) away from its hometown to Alexandria city in the north of Egypt.  Transportation means of such a large object were limited in those times.  Naturally Nile river ran between the cities and the obelisk was first moved as one single piece in its original form by the river. 

What's around

The obelisk is located in the heart of touristic Sultanahmet neighborhood at Hippodrome known as Sultanahmet Square.  Tours which stop by the Obelisk of Theodosius mainly include visits to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern and other nearby Istanbul attractions in Sultanahmet.

Istanbul boasts only one Egyptian obelisk in the city. ਌ontinue your discoveries of these amazing structures in Egypt itself. Egyptian Egyptologyst Labib Habachi is an author of an extensive work The Obelisks of Egypt: Skyscrapers of the Past.

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How to Spend 3 Days in Istanbul, Turkey

Epic nightfalls, removed hints of Namaaz, awesome minarets and charming felines – this is Istanbul, one of the most intriguing urban areas of Europe or Asia.

East meets West is such a buzzword yet no other objective fits this portrayal as impeccably as Istanbul. There is an Asian side and an European side that is isolated by the Bosphorous.

On the off chance that I begin composing a presentation about this verifiably, socially and creatively rich city, I’d always be unable to quit composing. Overly speedy history: Istanbul was previously the old Roman province of Byzantium. It was the royal city of Constantinople in the early ages. The middle period of history began here when the Ottoman Empire assumed control over this city in 1453.

I won’t go further into the history here in the presentation obviously I will specify a touch of it in the schedule for the vast majority of the Istanbul attractions. This will assist you with getting a more profound viewpoint of the spot that you’re visiting.

Istanbul is worked over slopes, much the same as numerous other unmistakable urban communities like Rome and Lisbon. These are absolute 7 slopes in Istanbul. Huge numbers of the individuals who visit Turkey simply use Istanbul as a snappy base before taking off to Cappadocia, Pamukkale or Ephesus. We suggest in any event 3 days. Check our nitty gritty agenda for going through 10 days in Turkey as well!

To investigate this city of Seven Hills inside 72 hours is an imposing assignment, and the individuals who love this city will shake their heads in dissatisfaction. Still this marvelous 3 days in Istanbul schedule has been painstakingly structured with the goal that you can experience a wide range of parts of this city. Previously longing for going to Istanbul? Get your Turkey visa now.

In addition, much the same as some other “touristy” region, Sultanahmet Square likewise has a ton of bistros and eateries – the majority of which I’d suggest you evade.

Sometime in the distant past, Sultanahmet Square was the hippodrome of Constantinople – the social focus of Constantinople. During that time, this zone likewise highlighted horse dashing.

Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are obviously the most clear attractions here, yet you ought to go search for the Serpant Column, the Obelisk of Thutmose III, the Walled Obelisk and the German wellspring. A great many people who can save only a day in Istanbul wind up visiting Sultanahmet Square.

Thutmose's military campaigns

Widely considered a military genius by historians, Thutmose III made 16 raids in 20 years. He was an active expansionist ruler, sometimes called Egypt's greatest conqueror or "the Napoleon of Egypt." [13] He is recorded to have captured 350 cities during his rule and conquered much of the Near East from the Euphrates to Nubia during seventeen known military campaigns. He was the first Pharaoh after Thutmose I to cross the Euphrates, doing so during his campaign against Mitanni. His campaign records were transcribed onto the walls of the temple of Amun at Karnak, and are now transcribed into Urkunden IV. He is consistently regarded as one of the greatest of Egypt's warrior pharaohs, who transformed Egypt into an international superpower by creating an empire that stretched from southern Syria through to Canaan and Nubia. [14] In most of his campaigns his enemies were defeated town by town, until being beaten into submission. The preferred tactic was to subdue a much weaker city or state one at a time resulting in surrender of each fraction until complete domination was achieved.

Much is known about Thutmosis "the warrior", not only because of his military achievements, but also because of his royal scribe and army commander, Thanuny, who wrote about his conquests and reign. The prime reason why Thutmosis was able to conquer such a large number of lands, is because of the revolution and improvement in army weapons. When the Hyksos invaded and took over Egypt with more advanced weapons such as horse-drawn chariots, the people of Egypt learned to use these weapons. He encountered only little resistance from neighbouring kingdoms, allowing him to expand his realm of influence easily. His army also had carried boats on dry land. These campaigns (17 in 20 years), are inscribed on the inner wall of the great chamber housing the "holy of holies" at the Karnak Temple of Amun. These inscriptions give the most detailed and accurate account of any Egyptian king.

First Campaign

When Hatshepsut died on the tenth day of the sixth month of Thutmose III's twenty first year — according to information from a single stela from Armant—the king of Kadesh advanced his army to Megiddo. [15] Thutmose III mustered his own army and departed Egypt, passing through the border fortress of Tjaru (Sile) on the twenty-fifth day of the eighth month. [16] Thutmose marched his troops through the coastal plain as far as Jamnia, then inland to Yehem, a small city near Megiddo, which he reached in the middle of the ninth month of the same year. [16] The ensuing Battle of Megiddo probably was the largest battle in any of Thutmose's seventeen campaigns. [17] A ridge of mountains jutting inland from Mount Carmel stood between Thutmose and Megiddo, and he had three potential routes to take. [17] The northern route and the southern route, both of which went around the mountain, were judged by his council of war to be the safest, but Thutmose, in an act of great bravery (or so he boasts, but such self-praise is normal in Egyptian texts), accused the council of cowardice and took a dangerous route [18] through the Aruna mountain pass which he alleged was only wide enough for the army to pass "horse after horse and man after man." [16]

Despite the laudatory nature of Thutmose's annals, such a pass does indeed exist (although it is not quite so narrow as Thutmose indicates) [19] and taking it was a brilliant strategic move, since when his army emerged from the pass they were situated on the plain of Esdraelon, directly between the rear of the Canaanite forces and Megiddo itself. [17] For some reason, the Canaanite forces did not attack him as his army emerged, [18] and his army routed them decisively. [17] The size of the two forces is difficult to determine, but if, as Redford suggests, the amount of time it took to move the army through the pass may be used to determine the size of the Egyptian force, and if the number of sheep and goats captured may be used to determine the size of the Canaanite force, then both armies were around 10,000 men. [20] However most scholars do believe that the Egyptian army was more numerous. According to Thutmose III's Hall of Annals in the Temple of Amun at Karnak, the battle occurred on "Year 23, I Shemu [day] 21, the exact day of the feast of the new moon" [21] – a lunar date. This date corresponds to May 9, 1457 BC based on Thutmose III's accession in 1479 BC. After victory in battle, however, his troops stopped to plunder the enemy and the enemy was able to escape into Megiddo. [22] Thutmose was forced to besiege the city instead, but he finally succeeded in conquering it after a siege of seven or eight months (see Siege of Megiddo). [22]

This campaign drastically changed the political situation in the ancient Near East. By taking Megiddo, Thutmose gained control of all of northern Canaan, and the Syrian princes were obligated to send tribute and their own sons as hostages to Egypt. [23] Beyond the Euphrates, the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Hittite kings all gave Thutmose gifts, which he alleged to be "tribute" when he recorded it on the walls of Karnak. [24] The only noticeable absence is Mitanni, which would bear the brunt of the following Egyptian campaigns into Asia.

Tours of Canaan and Syria

Thutmose's second, third, and fourth campaigns appear to have been nothing more than tours of Syria and Canaan to collect tribute. [25] Traditionally, the material directly after the text of the first campaign has been considered to be the second campaign. [26] This text records tribute from the area which the Egyptians called Retenu, (roughly equivalent to Canaan), and it was also at this time that Assyria paid a second "tribute" to Thutmose III. [27] However, it is probable that these texts come from Thutmose's fortieth year or later, and thus have nothing to do with the second campaign at all. If so, then so far, no records of this campaign have been found at all. [26] Thutmose's third campaign was not considered significant enough to appear in his otherwise extensive Annals at Karnak however, a survey was made of the animals and plants he found in Canaan, which was illustrated on the walls of a special room at Karnak. [28] This survey is dated to Thutmose's twenty-fifth year. [29] No record remains of Thutmose's fourth campaign whatsoever, [30] but at some point in time a fort was built in lower Lebanon and timber was cut for construction of a processional barque, and this probably fits best during this time frame. [31]

Conquest of Syria

The fifth, sixth, and seventh campaigns of Thutmose III were directed against the Phoenician cities in Syria and against Kadesh on the Orontes. In Thutmose's twenty-ninth year, he began his fifth campaign where he first took an unknown city (the name falls in a lacuna) which had been garrisoned by Tunip. [32] He then moved inland and took the city and territory around Ardata, [33] the town was pillaged and the wheat fields burnt. Unlike previous plundering raids, however, Thutmose III subsequently garrisoned the area known as Djahy, which is probably a reference to southern Syria. [25] This subsequently permitted him to ship supplies and troops between Syria and Egypt. [33] Although there is no direct evidence for it, it is for this reason that some have supposed that Thutmose's sixth campaign, in his thirtieth year, commenced with a naval transportation of troops directly into to Byblos, bypassing Canaan entirely. [33] After the troops arrived in Syria by whatever means, they proceeded into the Jordan river valley and moved north from there, pillaging Kadesh's lands. [34] Turning west again, Thutmose took Simyra and quelled a rebellion in Ardata, which apparently had rebelled once again. [35] To stop such rebellions, Thutmose began taking hostages from the cities in Syria. The cities in Syria were not guided by the popular sentiment of the people so much as they were by the small number of nobles who were aligned to Mitanni: a king and a small number of foreign Maryannu. [34] Thutmose III found that by taking family members of these key people to Egypt as hostages, he could drastically increase their loyalty to him. [34] However, Syria did rebel yet again in Thutmose's thirty-first year, and he returned to Syria for his seventh campaign, took the port city of Ullaza [34] and the smaller Phoenician ports, [35] and took even more measures to prevent further rebellions. [34] All the excess grain which was produced in Syria was stored in the harbors he had recently conquered, and was used for the support of the military and civilian Egyptian presence ruling Syria. [34] This furthermore left the cities in Syria desperately impoverished, and with their economies in ruins, they had no means of funding a rebellion. [36]

Attack on Mitanni

After Thutmose III had taken control of the Syrian cities, the obvious target for his eighth campaign was the state of Mitanni, a Hurrian country with an Indo-Aryan ruling class. However, to reach Mitanni, he had to cross the Euphrates river. Therefore, Thutmose III enacted the following strategy. He sailed directly to Byblos [37] and then made boats which he took with him over land on what appeared to otherwise be just another tour of Syria, [35] and he proceeded with the usual raiding and pillaging as he moved north through the lands he had already taken. [38] However, here he continued north through the territory belonging to the still unconquered cities of Aleppo and Carchemish, and then quickly crossed the Euphrates in his boats, taking the Mitannian king entirely by surprise. [38] It appears that Mitanni was not expecting an invasion, so they had no army of any kind ready to defend against Thutmose, although their ships on the Euphrates did try to defend against the Egyptian crossing. [37] Thutmose III then went freely from city to city and pillaged them while the nobles hid in caves (or at least this is the typically ignoble way Egyptian records chose to record it). [38] During this period of no opposition, Thutmose put up a second stele commemorating his crossing of the Euphrates, next to the one his grandfather Thutmose I had put up several decades earlier. [38] Eventually a militia was raised to fight the invaders, but it fared very poorly. [38] Thutmose III then returned to Syria by way of Niy, where he records that he engaged in an elephant hunt. [39] He then collected tribute from foreign powers and returned to Egypt in victory. [37]

Tours of Syria

Thutmose III returned to Syria for his ninth campaign in his thirty-fourth year, but this appears to have been just a raid of the area called Nukhashshe, a region populated by semi-nomadic people. [40] The plunder recorded is minimal, so it was probably just a minor raid. [41] Records from his tenth campaign indicate much more fighting, however. By Thutmose's thirty-fifth year, the king of Mitanni had raised a large army and engaged the Egyptians around Aleppo. [42] As usual for any Egyptian king, Thutmose boasted a total crushing victory, but this statement is suspect. Specifically, it is doubted that Thutmose accomplished any great victory here due to the very small amount of plunder taken. [42] Specifically, Thutmose's annals at Karnak indicate he only took a total of ten prisoners of war. [43] He may simply have fought the Mitannians to a stalemate, [42] yet he did receive tribute from the Hittites after that campaign, which seems to indicate the outcome of the battle was in Thutmose's favor. [39]

The details about his next two campaigns are unknown. [39] His eleventh is presumed to have happened in his thirty-sixth regnal year, and his twelfth is presumed to have happened in his thirty-seventh, since his thirteenth is mentioned at Karnak as happening in his thirty-eighth regnal year. [44] Part of the tribute list for his twelfth campaign remains immediately before his thirteenth begins, and the contents recorded (specifically wild game and certain minerals of uncertain identification) might indicate that it took place on the steppe around Nukhashashe, but this remains mere speculation. [45]

In his thirteenth campaign Thutmose returned to Nukhashashe for a very minor campaign. [44] The next year, his thirty-ninth year, he mounted his fourteenth campaign against the Shasu. The location of this campaign is impossible to determine definitely, since the Shasu were nomads who could have lived anywhere from Lebanon to the Transjordan, to Edom. [46] After this point, the numbers given by Thutmose's scribes to his campaigns all fall in lacunae, so campaigns can only be counted by date. In his fortieth year, tribute was collected from foreign powers, but it is unknown if this was considered a campaign (i.e. if the king went with it or if it was led by an official). [47] Only the tribute list remains from Thutmose's next campaign in the annals, [48] and nothing may be deduced about it, except that it probably was another raid to the frontiers around Niy. [49] His final Asian campaign is better documented, however. Sometime before Thutmose's forty-second year, Mitanni apparently began spreading revolt among all the major cities in Syria. [49] Thutmose moved his troops by land up the coastal road and put down rebellions in the Arka plain and moved on Tunip. [49] After taking Tunip, his attention turned to Kadesh again. He engaged and destroyed three surrounding Mitannian garrisons and returned to Egypt in victory. [50] However, his victory in this final campaign was neither complete, nor permanent, since he did not take Kadesh, [50] and Tunip could not have remained aligned to him for very long, certainly not beyond his own death. [51]

Nubian Campaign

Thutmose took one last campaign in his fiftieth regnal year, very late in his life. He attacked Nubia, but only went so far as the fourth cataract of the Nile. Although no king of Egypt had ever penetrated so far as he did with an army, previous kings' campaigns had spread Egyptian culture that far already, and the earliest Egyptian document found at Gebel Barkal, in fact, comes from three years before Thutmose's campaign. [35]

The Ancient Egyptian Obelisk Of Theodosius Of Pharaoh Thutmose III, Istanbul, Turkey - stock photo

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Obelisk of Theodosius (Egyptian Obelisk), Istanbul

Commissioned by Pharaoh Thutmose III in the 15th century BC, the Egyptian Obelisk has four faces with a single central column of inscription, celebrating the Pharaoh's victory over the Mitanni which took place on the banks of the Euphrates in about 1450 BC. With the ascent of the Hittite Empire, Mitanni and Egypt eventually struck an alliance to protect their mutual interests from the threat of Hittite domination.

What you see is only the top third of the original obelisk built for the great temple of Karnak in Egypt, which the Romans had cut into pieces and shipped up the river Nile to Alexandria in 390 AD. This top section has survived nearly 3,500 years in astonishingly good condition., and it stands today where Emperor Theodosius placed it, on a marble pedestal, to commemorate his 20th anniversary on the throne of Constantinople. The reliefs on the pedestal show Theodosius as he offers a laurel wreath to the victor from the Kathisma (Imperial box) at the Hippodrome.

If you're around the area, give this monument a look. Its towering figure inside a peaceful park is rather exciting, especially for history buffs.

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 iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Obelisk of Thutmose III, Istanbul - History

The King Thutmose III

The Obelisk of Theodosius is the Ancient Egyptian obelisk of Pharaoh Tutmoses III re-erected in the Hippodrome of Constantinople by the Roman emperor Theodosius I in the 4th century AD.
The obelisk was first set up by Tutmoses III (1479–1425 BC) to the south of the seventh pylon of the great Temple of Karnak. The Roman emperor Constantius II (337-361 AD) had it and another obelisk transported along the river Nile to Alexandria to commemorate his victories of his forces in Mesopotamia Or 20 years on the throne in 357. The other obelisk was erected on the Spina of the Circus Maximus in Rome in the autumn of that year, and is today known as the Lateran obelisk, whilst the obelisk that would become the obelisk of Theodosius remained in Alexandria until 390, when Theodosius I (378-392 AD) had it transported to Constantinople and put up on the Spina of the Hippodrome there.
The Obelisk of Theodosius is of red granite from Aswan and was originally 30m tall, like the Lateran obelisk. The lower part was damaged in antiquity, probably during its transport or re-erection, and so the obelisk is today only 18.54m (or 19.6m) high or 25.6m if the base is included. It is the oldest monument in Istanbul and has always been considered magical. The obelisk rests on four bronze blocks on a Roman base used in its transportation and re-erection decorated with reliefs. These depict the emperor, his children and other prominent personalities watching the races from the imperial box, as well as the spectators, musicians, dancers and chariot races.
Each of its four faces has a single central column of inscription, celebrating Thutmoses III's victory on the banks of the river Euphrates in 1450 BC.

Thutmose III
Meaning Thoth is born <Thoth God of wisdom and the moon> was the sixth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. During the first twenty-two years of Thutmose's reign he was co-regent with his stepmother, Hatshepsut, who was named the pharaoh. While he is shown first on surviving monuments, both were assigned the usual royal names and insignia and neither is given any obvious seniority over the other. He served as the head of her armies.
After her death and his later rise to being the pharaoh of the kingdom, he created the largest empire Egypt had ever seen no fewer than seventeen campaigns were conducted, and he conquered from Niya in north Syria to the fourth waterfall of the Nile in Nubia.
Officially, Thutmose III ruled Egypt for almost fifty-four years, and his reign is usually dated from April 24, 1479 BC to March 11, 1425 BC however, this includes the twenty-two years he was co-regent to Hatshepsut—his stepmother and aunt. During the final two years of his reign, he appointed his son-and successor-Amenhotep II, as his junior co-regent. When Thutmose III died, he was buried in the Valley of the Kings as were the rest of the kings from this period in Egypt.


Thutmose III was the son of Thutmose II by a secondary wife, Iset. Α] His father's great royal wife was Queen Hatshepsut. Her daughter Neferure was Thutmose's half-sister.

When Thutmose II died Thutmose III was too young to rule, so Hatshepsut became his regent, soon his coregent, and shortly thereafter, she declared herself to be the pharaoh while never denying kinship to young Thutmose III. Thutmosis III had little power over the empire while Hatshepsut exercised the formal titulary of kingship. Her rule was quite prosperous and marked by great advancements. When he reached a suitable age and demonstrated the capability, she appointed him to head her armies.

Thutmosis III had several wives:

    : She may have been the mother of his firstborn son, Amenemhat. Β] An alternative theory is that the boy was the son of Neferure. Amenemhat predeceased his father. Ώ] . Thutmose's successor, the crown prince and future king Amenhotep II, was the son of Merytre-Hatshepsut. Β] Additional children include Menkheperre and daughters named Nebetiunet, Meryetamun (C), Meryetamun (D) and Iset. Merytre-Hatshepsut was the daughter of the divine adoratrice Huy. Ώ] : she is depicted on a pillar in Thutmose III's tomb. Ώ] three foreign wives. Ώ] : Thutmose III may have married his half-sister, Β] but there is no conclusive evidence for this marriage. It has been suggested that Neferure may have been the mother of Amenemhat instead of Satiah. Ώ]

Photo, Print, Drawing [The erected stone (obelisk) located in the Hippodrome] / Constantinople, Abdullah Frères.

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Watch the video: obelisk of Theodosius istanbul (May 2022).


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