Column of Constantine


Corner of Yeniçeriler Cad. (where the avenue changes its name from Divanyolu and behind the Çemberlitas Tram stop) and Mahmut Pasa Yokusu, Çemberlitas
Istanbul, Turkey


It was Constantine who established the so called Burnt Column of Çemberlitaş or the Column of Himself as is also known. This was on May 11, 330 AD and the establishment was followed by several ceremonies of both Christian and Pagan influences.

The monumental column was erected inside the circular forum, which Constantine had built just outside the city walls when he founded the city on the hill as the capital of the Roman Empire.  The Column was 50 meters tall, constructed of nine cylindrical porphyry blocks and carved of red porphyry stone.

The column has been a victim of earthquakes and as a result part of its base cracked. And in 1106, the statue of Constantine was toppled by a hurricane. The first restoration was supervised by Manuel Komnenos. A simple cross was placed atop the column in place of the destroyed statue of the emperor. Since then, periodic repairs have been done for the cracks in the marble; however it was not until 2003 that full-fledged, comprehensive restoration was begun.

With a rich history and a lot significance to the Roman Emperor, The Column of Constantine remains to be one of the most important examples of Roman art in Istanbul. Due to the afore-mentioned destructions, the column is only 35 meters tall today. The Column is a World Heritage Site.


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