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Blakhernai Palaces (Tekfur Palace)

Tekfur palace in IstanbulThe Blakhernai Palaces, known today as Tekfur Palace, was built by the Byzantines in the 12th century and used as an imperial residence until the Conquest of Constantinople in the 15th century. The palace complex was built next to the city walls at the ancient Blakherna district, in todays Egrikapi neighborhood near Kariye (old church of St. Savior in Chora). The area was one of the seven hills of the old city. The cellars of the palace, known as Anemas Dungeons, were also built next to the walls a little bit further north, just near Ivaz Efendi Mosque.

During the Byzantine period, 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, and was used by the emperor during his visits to the Theotokos church where the mantle of Virgin Mary was kept. The pavilion was enlarged during the reign of Manuel Komnenos I in the 12th century and became a summer residence for the Byzantine emperors.

After the Conquest of Constantinople until today, it was named as Tekfur palace and was used as a storage, stable, bottle blowing factory, ceramics atelier, and so on.

Today, one can see the façade of the Tekfur 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. If you follow the walls to the direction of the Golden Horn, you can reach to the Anemas Dungeons as well. At the moment these tunnels and halls are being cleaned so it's not open to the public, it can be visited only by a special permission.

Hope to see you soon in Istanbul.

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