Egyptian column becomes memorial to Istanbul attack victims

Tourists visit the Obelisk in Istanbul which has become a momument to the victims on January 13, 2016, a day after a blast in the city's Sultanahmet Square (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)

Istanbul (AFP) - An ancient Egyptian obelisk has become a makeshift memorial for the 10 German tourists killed in this week's suicide bombing in Istanbul, with people laying carnations, messages and even football scarves to remember the victims.

The suicide bomber, a Syrian member of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, detonated his charge on Tuesday morning next to the Obelisk of Theodosius in the centre of Istanbul's historic district.

The group of German tourists appeared to have been inspecting the monument, one of Istanbul's most iconic symbols which lies close to the Ottoman-era Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Square, when the bomb went off.

A carpet of red carnations has now been placed by mourners at the foot of memorial -- which is surrounded by protective railings -- along with messages written in Turkish, English, German and other languages.

"Pray for Istanbul," read one slogan, next to a silhouette of the city's historic skyline. "Stop Terrorism! We are the World," said another.

"We curse terrorism," said a message from a Turkish tourism association. "We mourn, we grieve," said another written in Russian.

In a distinctive tribute, some hung football scarves of top German football teams including Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and the German national side on the railings by the monument.

The day earlier, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, his wife Sare, and German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere paid their respects at the column and laid flowers there.

But on Thursday, dozens of ordinary people came to the monument. There was no longer a police cordon but everyone was given a body search by police before entering the area.

The obelisk was commissioned in the mid-2nd millennium BC by the Egyptian pharaoh but was shipped to what is now Istanbul in the late fourth century AD where it was placed in the centre of the city by Roman Emperor Theodosius I.

Tourists from around the world now admire the original Egyptian column as well as the more recent base that was sculpted to glorify the achievements of Theodosius.