Serpent Column


The Serpent Column (Turkish: Yılanlı Sütun), also known as the Delphic Tripod or the Plataean Tripod, is one of the oldest remnants from the Hippodrome, todays Sultanahmet Square. The pillar is decorated with three intertwining  snakes which wind up the column and around each other. Only a five meter portion of the original survives today.

The column was first erected in the Temple of Apollo in 479 B.C.E. to commemorate the Greek city-states defeat of the Persians in the Battle of Platea. An inscription at the base lists the 31 states that participated in this battle. In 324 C.E. the pillar was brought to Istanbul by Emperor Constantine believing that it would protect the city from reptiles and insects.

The column was once adorned with miniature pictures which survived until the 16th century. The only surviving snake head of the original three is now exhibited in the Archeological Museum.


Gülhane Parkı, Sarayburnu, İstanbul