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Column of Marcian, Istanbul

3.9
#874 of 1,405 in Things to do in Istanbul
The Column of Marcian (Turkish: Kıztaşı) is a Roman honorific column erected in Constantinople by the praefectus urbi Tatianus (450-c.452) and dedicated to the Emperor Marcian (450-57). It is located in the present-day Fatih district of Istanbul. The column is not documented in any late Roman or Byzantine source and its history has to be inferred from its location, style and dedicatory inscription.


The column is carved from red-grey Egyptian granite, in two sections. The quadrilateral basis is encased by four slabs of white marble. Three faces are decorated with IX monograms within medallions, and the fourth with two genii supporting a globe. The column is topped by a Corinthian capital, decorated with aquilae. The inscription confirms that the capital was originally surmounted by a statue of Marcian, in continuation of an imperial architectural tradition initiated by the Column of Trajan and the Column of Marcus Aurelius in Rome. The basis of the column is orientated northwest/southeast, while its capital is aligned north/south, possibly so that the statue could look towards the nearby Church of the Holy Apostles.


A Latin dedicatory inscription is engraved on the northern side of the basis. Its lettering was originally filled with bronze, which has since been removed. The inscription reads:


[PR]INCIPIS HANC STATUAM MARCIANI | CERNE TORUMQUE |


[PRAE]FECTUS VOVIT QUOD TATIANUS | OPUS


(Behold this statue of the princeps Marcian and its base,
a work dedicated by the prefect Tatianus.)


The Turkish name Kıztaşı, "the column of the girl" (kız: "girl" + taş: "stone"), apparently derives from the genii on the basis, which during the Ottoman period were the column's most distinguishing features (after the loss of Marcian's statue).
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Column of Marcian Reviews
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13 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • I wouldn't expect to find a Byzantium column in the middle of a square but there it is. Still preserved well! Evliya Çelebi wrote - quoted from The Byzantine Legacy portal: “At the head of the...  more »
  • The Column of Marcian is a bit off the beaten path, about 600m west of the Valens Aqueduct. It was erected by praefectus urbi Tatianus (roughly equivalent to a mayor, served 450 - 452), and...  more »
  • I've been coming to Istanbul for over 25 years and had no idea this existed. I found out about it on a information sheet at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum and then went to find it. It isn't easy and....  more »
Google
  • Great historic venue, frequented by tourists and locals alike. Located in a quiet residential neighborhood it's a testament to Istanbul's deep historic and cultural roots. While you are in this neighborhood, do walk these small quiet residential streets and grab a bite at one of the small local restaurants to immerse yourself in real authentic Istanbul life.
  • Wonderful place.... history is wonderful
  • Nice to see and visit, nothing much
  • Clean and comfortable place. Very kind staff...
  • The column of Marcian is place of high historical value, but very poorly preserved.

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