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December 12, 2007

Palace of the Porphyrogenitus

The Palace of the Porphyrogenitus today and once.
The Palace of the Porphyrogenitus today and once.

The Palace of the Porphyrogenitus, also known as the Palace of Constantine Porphyrogenitus (Turkish: Tekfur Sarayı which means "Palace of the Emperor") is a 13th century Byzantine palace in the north-western part of the old city of Constantinople.

Located at the point where the Theodosian Walls meet with the later walls of the suburb of Blachernae, it was built during the late 12th or early 13th centuries as part of the palace complex of Blachernae. The palace appears at first glance to be named after Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, the 10th Century emperor, but it was built long after his time. It is in fact named after Constantine Palaiologos, a son of the Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos. 'Porphyrogenitus', meaning literally 'born to the purple', in this context indicates a child who is heir to the Byzantine throne.

After the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, it served as part of the Sultan's menagerie, then as a pottery workshop and a poorhouse before being abandoned in the late 17th century. As a result, only the elaborate brick and stone outer façade survives today, the only major surviving example of secular Byzantine architecture. As of 2006, the palace is undergoing extensive restoration.

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