Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Eğrikapı, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°02'02.0"N 28°56'25.0"E / 41.033889, 28.940278

Blachernai Palace / Egrikapi - Istanbul photo blachernae_palace101.jpg


The Blachernai Palaces, was built  in the 12th century and used as an imperial residence until the conquest of the city. The palace complex was built next to the city walls at Egrikapi. The area was one of the seven hills of Constantinople. During the Byzantine period, The Tekfur Palace was also known as Constantine Porphyrogenetus Palace. It was a pavilion of the Blakhernai Palace complex. The pavilion had three floors with a wooden roof and wooden floors. During the reign of Manuel Komnenos I it became a summer residence.

After the conquest of the city until today, it was named as Tekfur palace and was used as a storage, stable, bottle blowing factory, ceramics atelier. Today, one can see the facade of the  palace and the remains of four walls. It has a rectangular plan. Outer walls, arches and window frames of the palace are decorated with stones and bricks. It's not open to the public today.

As the Bucolean Palace was destroyed after the occupation by the Latins, the dynasty moved to the Blachernae Palace. Therefore, it was the residence of the last Byzantian emperors. Large ceremonies, such as placing the crown on the emperor’s head and sitting down on the throne were held in this palace. Until today, the Blachernai Palace has remained the most solid palace / the palace that has remained intact the most.

The Palace of Blachernae was an imperial Byzantine residence in the suburb of Blachernae, located in the northwestern section of Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey). The area of the palace is now mostly overbuilt, and only literary sources are available as to its description. The Palace of Blachernae was constructed on the northern slopes of the Sixth Hill of the city in circa 500. The hill itself was partially remodelled, particularly in later times, and a number of terraces created to support the various buildings comprising the palace complex.

Although the main imperial residence during the 4th-11th centuries was the Great Palace at the eastern end of the city, the Blachernae palace was used at times, and is attested in the ceremonial protocols contained in the 10th-century De Ceremoniis, or Explanation of the Order of the Palace, Chapters I.27, I.34, II.9, II.12) of Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos (r. 945-959). At that time, it included several structures: the hall (triklinos) of Anastasius or Anastasiakos, named after Emperor Anastasius I (r. 491-518) who built it, the hall of the Ocean or Okeanos, the portico of Joseph or Iosephiakos, and the hall of the Danube or Danoubios.

The latter communicated with the nearby shrine of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Mary of Blachernae through a series of staircases. It was here that in the late 11th century the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081-1118) moved his main residence, and he and his grandson Manuel I Komnenos (r. 1143-1180) undertook great works there, fortifying the palace precinct and erecting new halls. Manuel I, in particular, is credited with the construction of an elaborate outer wall, and of several splendid new halls, such as the Hall of Irene (named after Empress Irene of Hungary) and the Polytimos Oikos ("Valuable House").

At this time the palace complex became known as the "New Palace". Among the structures of the time, only the so-called Prison of Anemas, which formed part of the palace's substructure, still survives. After the Fourth Crusade, the Latin emperors favoured the Bucoleon Palace, but on the recapture of the city in 1261, the Palaiologan emperors restored the Blachernae complex as their principal residence.

The Palace of the Porphyrogenitus, probably dating to the late 13th century, although a bit further south than the main Blachernae palace complex, is usually related to it. It is the only relatively intact example of Byzantine palace architecture in Constantinople.

Blachernae was a suburb in the northwestern section of Constantinople, the capital city of the Byzantine Empire. It is the site of a water source and a number of prominent churches were built there, most notably the great Church of St. Mary of Blachernae (Panagia Blacherniotissa), built by Empress Pulcheria in c. 450, expanded by Emperor Leo I (r. 457-474) and renovated by Emperor Justinian I (r. 527-565) in the 6th century.

The quarter is recorded as regio XIV in the early 5th-century Notitia Urbis Constantinopolitanae, where it is recorded as being enclosed by a wall of its own. The quarter was connected to the city proper at the construction of the Theodosian Walls, but the Church of St. Mary remained outside of the walls until 627, when Emperor Heraclius (r. 610-641) built another wall to enclose it. By that time, the church had become the major Marian shrine of the city, and the second-most important church in Constantinople after Hagia Sophia, if only because the emperors' residence was nearby.

In 1347, Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos (r. 1347-1354) was crowned there, instead of at Hagia Sophia. South of the church and situated on the city's Seventh Hill stood the imperial Palace of Blachernae, which was first erected in c. 500. During the Komnenian period, it became the favourite imperial residence, eclipsing the older Great Palace of Constantinople on the eastern end of the city.

Although the Latin emperors returned to the Bucoleon Palace, the Palaiologos emperors of the restored Byzantine Empire again used the Blachernae Palace as their main residence. The Palace of the Porphyrogenitus (Turkish: Tekfur Sarayı) and the so-called Prison of Anemas are the main surviving structures of the Palace of Blachernae, which was a complex of multiple buildings.

Following the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in May 1453, the Sultan's residence was moved to Topkapı Palace on the site of the ancient acropolis of Byzantium, opposite to the original site of the Great Palace, which had by this time fallen into complete ruin, and the Blachernae area (with the exception of the Palace of Porphyrogenitus) fell into disuse.

The historic Blachernae area is in the present-day Istanbul quarter known as Ayvansaray. The sacred spring, associated with the Virgin Mary, can still be visited today; in Turkish it is named Ayazma, a name derived from the Greek term hagiasma, meaning "holy water".


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