Palace of the Porphyrogenitus (in Turkish “ Tekfur Sarayı”) which is situated in Edirnekapı is one of the parts of Blachernae Palace and it is the unique structure of Roman Palaces. There are lots of disagreements on the purpose of construction and the exact date of the large three-story building.
Who had the Palace of the Porphyrogenitus built?
There is no definite information about the date of the construction of the palace. It is estimated that Palace of the Porphyrogenitus was built in the 10th or 11th century based on various architectural features. Some historians line up with the fact that the Palace was built for the residence of the Blachernae Palace employees, whereas the others assert that it was built as the annex of the Palace of Blakhernai by Emperor Constantine, nicknamed Porphyrogennetos.
The Palace was once called as the Constantine Palace by the Romans; the later it was named House of Porphyrogennetos. It may be said that porphyrogennetos is a name given to the princes and 7. Constantine is also named after this word. As far as known, he has built a magnificent palace in the name of his son Romanos. It is emphasized that this palace has a strong possibility of being the Palace of Porphyrogenitus.
It is not known for sure by whom, why, and when this palace was built but it is known that it is a late Roman work. The Great Palace and the surrounding buildings in Sultanahmet Square had been abandoned by the Roman dynasties over time and the started to reside in this building which is adjacent to the walls of the Golden Horn. In their last era, Constantinople was ruled from here.
Palace of the Porphyrogenitus in Ottoman Period
Along with the conquest, Tekfur Palace lost its former significance. The Ottoman sultans lived in Topkapı Palace built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet Han. However, it continued to be used for various purposes.
The roof of the ancient palace is known to have flown in a storm in the 17th century. The palace is clearly known to have been used as zoos, ceramics factory, china workshop (Chinese tiles used in fountain ornaments of Ottoman Sultan Ahmet III) and bottles (glass production place). Furthermore, it is said that the palace was also used as a Jewish settlement for a period (19th century). During the Turkish Republican period, The Palace was comprehensively restored between 1955 and 1970.
Being exhibited in the Topkapı Palace Museum today, the priceless Spoon maker’s diamond was found in the garbage of the place.
At the present time, this rare and precious structure is not paid enough attention at all (as is the case with many others). Historians and archaeologists agree that the palace must be appropriately elaborated and preserved in addition, the joints which are not related to the original state must be removed.