The remains of the Milion can be found in the Sultanahmet district, tucked away near the Basilica Cistern. It was a mile- marker monument erected by Constantine the Great in the early 4th century. The Million was the starting point for measuring distances for all roads leading to the Byzantine Empire. Constantine was eager for his ‘New Rome- to mirror features of the Old Rome. The Million was meant to imitate Ancient Rome’s Milliarium Aureum. Although “all roads lead to Istanbul” has yet to become a proverbial phrase.
It was originally a domed building that rested on four large arches with elaborate statues and paintings. The base of the structure was inscribed with some of the distances to major cities throughout the empire. The Million survived the 1453 Ottoman conquest of Istanbul, but disappeared at the dawn of the 16th century. It wasn’t until the 1960s that partial fragments of the Milion were discovered during excavations. A single unremarkable pillar has been re-erected. Keep your eyes peeled because it’s easy to miss.