from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blachernae was a suburb in northwest Constantinople , which was outside the city walls until the expansion of the wall ring in 627. Aelia Pulcheria had St. Mary's Church built in the middle of the 5th century , which later became the second most important church in Constantinople after Hagia Sophia . Under Justin I (518-27) the building was largely rebuilt and comprehensively equipped, and under Justin II (565-78) it was completed by a transept. It was last restored under Andronikos II (1282-1328), if only because of its proximity to the imperial palace. It was here and not in Hagia Sophia that John VI was born in 1347 . Crowned Kantakuzenos .

Alexios I built an already existing imperial palace here in the late 11th century. Under his successors, the Blachernen Palace became the main residence of the Byzantine emperors. This palace appears as early as 1031 in the reign of Emperor Romanus III. In 1078 Michael VII and the Senate were there on Sunday in the palace there, while the people attended the liturgy in Hagia Sophia . The background is the coup d'état by Nikephoros Botaneiates against the emperor, who had to flee from the old palace on the Bosporus to the Blachernai before the troops of the usurper . In the Blachernai, Emperor Manuel I received ambassadors and Western European kings, including Louis VII of France and Conrad III. in 1147, but also Amalrich , king of Jerusalem. Manuel's daughter Maria married in the “New Palace”, while his son Alexios married in the “Palace of Constantine”.

The palace's weakness was its security, which is why the city walls were expanded at this point as early as 625/27. This fortification, later called Καστέλλιον, was reinforced by Manuel I, but the walls here were still relatively weak, even if they were reinforced by the ramparts of the palace. The participants in the Crusade of 1101 and the Fourth Crusade in 1204 took advantage of this when they invaded the palace. The palace, neglected by the Latin emperors, was restored by Michael VIII in the late 13th century. During the siege of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453, Blachernae was attacked with large cannons, which almost completely destroyed the walls.

After the Blachernen, in addition to a city gate, there were also public baths that were built under Tiberius II (578-582) and Maurikios (582-602) and renovated under Basil II (976-1025).

After the city was conquered , the ruler 's residence was moved to the Topkapi Seraglio and the Blachernae suburb (with the exception of the Porphyrogennetos Palace ) fell into disrepair. By 1550 the Marienkirche was largely in ruins.



  1. This and the following according to Ruth Macrides: The “other” palace in Constantinople: the Blachernai , in: Michael Featherstone, Jean-Michel Spieser, Gülru Tanman, Ulrike Wulf-Rheidt (eds.): The Emperor's House. Palaces from Augustus to the Age of Absolutism , de Gruyter, 2015, pp. 159–168.

Coordinates: 41 ° 2 ′ 18.4 ″  N , 28 ° 56 ′ 27.8 ″  E