Boukoleon Palace

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Located in Çatladıkapı, Istanbul, the Byzantine Boukoleon Palace was used as an imperial quay between the 9th and 13th centuries. Known also as Hormistas Palace and added to the palace complex by the Emperor Justinianus, the Boukoleon Palace's few but precious ruins survived today. Its marble framed windows, crypt, and  magnificent door can still be seen today.



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 of the Church of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus, and possibly also two fifth-century palaces originally belonging to the noble women of the Theodosian dynasty (Domus Placidiae Augustae and Palatium Placidianum). The 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 by the emperors Theophilus and Basil I  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 written sources that the emperors in the ninth century could be informed very quickly about threats on the Byzantine-Arab frontier 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 palace known as the Sacred Palace or Boukoleon many official and ceremonial functions were concentrated into one building, the Chryso-triklinos. The Chrysotriklinos was used as an audience and dining hall and its subsidiary chambers served several other purposes. The east apse of the hall was the place where the imperial throne stood during formal audiences. On other occasions the emperor sat 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.

Çatladıkapı, Sultanahmet İstanbul