Friday, March 10, 2017


Cankurtaran, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'09.0"N 28°58'33.0"E / 41.002500, 28.975833

Boukoleon Palace / Cankurtaran - Istanbul photo boukoleon_palace101.jpg


The Palace of Boukoleon or Bucoleon was one of the Byzantine palaces in Constantinople. It was probably built by Theodosius II in the 5th century. The Bucoleon Palace as it survives today. One of the stone lions at the entrance to the Bucoleon harbour, today at the Istanbul Archaeological Museums. The preserved facade of the Boukoleon Palace can be seen on the Byzantium walls, in the Çatladıkapı Quarter between Kumkapı and Ahırkapı. The Boukoleon Palace was a coastal and only used by the Emperors.

The first building of the Boukoleon Palace is said to have been constructed by Hormisdas who came from Iran in the first half of the 4th century AD. According to a different theory, the palace, which was built between 408 and 450 AD, was burned down in 474 AD. However, Emperor Justinian I, who used the palace before he became emperor, as his residence, restored and expanded it during his reign.

The name Boukoleon was attributed to the bull (bous) and lion (leo) statues standing seawards. The structure was known by the name House of Hormisdas until the period of Emperor Justinian I. Emperor Theophilus added the balcony, which is still visible today, towards the sea. The palace was incorporated into the walls in the 10th century and it was gradually abandoned in favour of the Blachernai Palace where the dynasty moved in 1081.

The palace sits on the shore of Marmara Sea. Hormisdas is an earlier name of the place. The name Bucoleon was probably attributed after the end of the 6th century under Justinian I, when the small harbour in front of the palace, which is now filled, was constructed. According to tradition, a statue featuring a bull and a lion stood there, giving the port its name (Greek for "bull" and "lion" respectively). "House of Hormisdas" and "House of Justinian" are other names referring to Bucoleon Palace.

Emperor Theophilos, among his other works, rebuilt and expanded the palace, adding a large façade on top of the seaward walls. The ruins suggest a balcony looking out to the sea was present, accessible through three marble-framed doorways, still visible today.

In the 1204 sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, Bucoleon was taken by Boniface of Montferrat who: Rode all along the shore to the palace of Bucoleon, and when he arrived there it surrendered, on condition that the lives of all therein should be spared.

At Bucoleon were found the larger number of the great ladies who had fled to the castle, for there were found the sister of the King of France, who had been empress, and the sister of the King of Hungary, who had also been empress, and other ladies very many. Of the treasure that was found in that palace I cannot well speak, for there was so much that it was beyond end or counting.

The Great Palace was extended as far as the Sea of Marmara in the late seventh century during Justinian II's reign by absorbing the Hormisdas Palace, the former private residence of Justinian I situated east Sts. Sergius and Bacchus, and possibly also two fifth -century palaces originally belonging to the noble women of Theodisian dynasty (Domus Placidiae Augustae and Palatium Placidianum).

This part of the Great Palace nearer the sea became the focus of everyday life in the palace from the ninth century onwards and was called the Sacred Palace. The ground descended gradually in a series of terraces from the Constantinian Palace to the sea and the major development of this area was undertaken, according to the written sources, by the emperors Theophilus and Basil I (that is in the ninth century).

However, the principal buildings were erected before their reigns:The sixth-century Chrysotriklinos was the main reception and dining hall of the middle Byzantine imperial residence and the real heart and nerve centre of the Sacred Palace.

The Chrysotriklinos was connected to the seventh century hall of Justinianos on the lower terrace of the Constantinian palace by the Lausiakos, built by Justinian II. This emperor is also said to have added two courtyards with fountains for the audiences of the circus factions (the so-called Phialai of the Greens and Blues).

Finally, he ordered this new palace area to be enclosed with a wall. East (or south-east) of the Chrysotriklinos was the church of the Mother of God (Theotokos of the Pharos), the palace chapel par excellence, and the lighthouse-the Pharos. We know from the written sources that emperors in the ninth century could be informed very quickly about threats on the Byzantine-Arab fronties by a kind of telegraphic system. The news was flashed across Asia Minor by eight beacon fires.

When the last fire appeared on Mt. Auxentios in Bithynia, a light was kindled in the Pharos of the Imperial palace. Unlike the Constantinian part of the Great Palace where several large halls served specific purposes, in the later palaceknown as the Sacred Palace of Bukoleon many official and ceremonial functions concentrated into one building, the Chrysotriklinos. The Chrysotriklinos was used as an audience and dining hall and its subsidary chambers served several other purposes.

The east apse of the hall was the palace where the imperial throne stood during formal audiences. On other occasions the emperor sar in a chair and it was possible to go straight through the interior of the octagonal hall and leave it by a silver door in the east apse that opened on the terrace of the Lighthouse where the chapel of the Theotokos stood.

Among the prizes, then, was Princess Margaret, daughter of Bela III of Hungary, whom Boniface married. During the subsequent Latin Empire ( 1204 - 1261 ), the Bucoleon continued to be used as an imperial residence. After the recapture of the city by Michael VIII Palaiologos, however, the palace, along with the entire Great Palace complex, was gradually abandoned in favour of the Blachernae Palace.

The Bucoleon Palace one of the Byzantine palaces in the city and was built by Theodosius II in the 5th century.  The palace is located on the shore of the Marmara Sea. The name Bucoleon was probably attributed after the end of the 6th century under Justinian I, when the small harbour in front of the palace, was constructed. Emperor Theophilos rebuilt and expanded the palace, adding a large facade on top of the seaward walls.

The ruins suggest a balcony looking out to the sea was present, accessible through three marble-framed doorways, still visible today. The Bucoleon Palace on the coast entailed Porfir Köşkü, where all the emperors were born. The Bucoleon Palace was enormous. It had five hundred rooms, that were all connected to each other.

When Mehmet II, the Ottoman emperor, entered the city in 1453, it was noted that the then-famous palace still stood, albeit in ruins. The ruins of the palace were partially destroyed in 1873 to make way for the railway line to Sirkeci.

The palace was damaged during the earthquake of 1532 and some parts, remained after the earthquake but were totally wrecked due to fire  in 1741, 1758, 1808 and 1912. The west side of the Palace was destroyed by the construction of Sirkeci railway in 1873.


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