Milion Stone, Istanbul
Million pillar nowadays truly is nothing special, but to feel the essence you need to know the history of it. Actually in Byzantine Empire there was a Triumphal Arch (built in 4th century), now just a fragment of it. From this Arch all distances to different towns of Byzantine Empire were measured.
If you see more clearly, nowadays soil level is much different than in Roman times, so pillar is a bit “hidden”.
The stone that marks the centre of the Universe is just opposite of Hagia Sophia at the entrence of the Cistern, on the right side of tram line in Sultanahmet. Sometimes it’s called the Millennium Stone; sometimes the Million Stone, sometimes Point Zero. It isthe zero meridian point of the world.
One day a man asked Nasrettin hodja, a Turkish joker and philosopher: Where is the central point of the world?”
The Hodja's donkey was with him. So he pointed to his donkey.
“Where the front legs of my donkey are, there is the middle point of the world.”
“How can you prove that?” asked the men.
“If you don't believe, you can measure it or ask my donkey ”, the Hodja said.
This stone pillar is located near the entrance to the Basilica Cistern and is all that remains of a Byzantine triumphal arch from which road distances to all corners of the empire were once measured. It dates from the 4th century AD. The tower beside it was once part of the Aqueduct of Valens (see next tip) that brought water to the Basilica Cistern.
The Million Column is considered to be a monument in Constantinople. It was the origin and start of measurement of distances for all the roads leading to the cities of the Byzantine Empire, and had the same function which the Milliarium Aureum of Rome still has today.
The Millon is the milestone from which all distances in the Byzantine and Ottoman empires were measured. It is now very weathered and most tourists walk right by it without noticing it. What we found very interesting is that its base is now about 3 meters below street level - in other words, the ground has built up that much in the past 1500 years.
This unassuming marble slab was used as the starting point from which all distances in the Byzantine Empire were measured. You're likely to walk right by it without noticing as you are in the same area near the Aya Sofya and will probably looking for the entrance to the Basilica Cistern. There's also the unmarked remnants of a brick Ottoman water tower just above it that at least caused me to wonder what it was. This could also distract you from the Milion marker as you walk by it.
The thing that struck me about the marker was how much below the current grade the base of the marker was. It goes to show that things tend to build up over the ages as the marker base was probably where ground level used to be back in the day.
A little historical structure in Sultanahmet is the Milion Pillar. When Constantine established "Nova Roma", which would become known as Constantinople, he designated a monument to be built to serve as the starting point of the "Mese", the ancient road to Rome (present-day Divan Yolu street). The Milion also was used to measure distances from Constantinople to various parts of the Roman Empire. The pillar that stands here now is all that remains of that monument. Its present location is just above the entrance of the Yerebatan Sarnici. It's kind of easy to miss as it is situated next to a tree on the side of Divan Yolu. I happened to glance over and see it as I was taking a picture of the Blue Mosque.
Just outside Hagia Sophia lies the remnants of an arch known as Million, marking the center of the Byzantine Empire. All distances were measured according to this point.
Column marks spot from which all distances were measured in Byzantium. It is located on the corner opposite Haga Sophia.
This rare monument is a base milestone of Byzantine Empire. So, all the road from Constantinople start from here. So, all distances from Constantinople was measured from here. It is made of marble.