Tekfur Palace and Pottery Istanbul
Tekfur Palace was built either in the 13th or 14th century and known as the Palace of the Porhyrogenitus (“Born in the Purple”) which was significant for Byzantine emperors. The large building is believed to have formed part of the nearby Blachernae Palace complex that was similar to the Byzantine Great Palace and Topkapi Palace . Although it is not possible to go inside most of the exterior structure has survived and has striking brick and marble decorations and became known in Turkish as Tekfur Palace (Palace of the Emperor).
Since the conquest of Constantinople the Palace has gone through many different guises; it has served as a menagerie for exotic animals, about which Edward Barton, an English ambassador, wrote in 1597 that he had to avoid “familiar kisses” from a giraffe. Then it became a brothel and in 1791 was converted into a pottery that produced the famous Tekfur Palace tiles and ceramics. Although its products were considered inferior to those made by the Iznik kilns they were still very highly regarded. When production stopped in the late 18th century the building was turned into a poorhouse. Later still, the missionary Cyrus Hamilton, who founded Robert College (that is today the Bosphorus University or Bogazici University), had considered using the remains of the palace as part of the campus.
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