Tekfur Sarayi
Tekfur Sarayi
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The area
Neighbourhood: Fener & Balat
This sleepy and rather socially conservative area of Istanbul hosts a small but thriving Jewish community, the patriarchate of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and some of the most beautiful churches and Christian art in the world. Much of what’s most interesting to witness in Fener and Balat sits between the surviving ancient city walls of Constantinople and the serene shores of the Golden Horn. Despite the many splendid sights, historic attractions, stunning vistas, and warm Turkish welcome, the area remains largely unperturbed by the tourist trade that characterizes the atmosphere in nearby Sultanahmet and around the Grand Bazaar. Travelers that like to explore off the beaten track will reap big rewards for making the effort to visit this low-key part of town.
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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles60 reviews
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Berthaki
Arequipa, Peru264 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022 • Solo
A very well organized museum! Although the palace is small, it offers a lot of things to see. The visit was not only interesting to check the architecture, which is amazing, but also the small museum showing beautiful tiles made during Ottoman epoch made it worthy. You find even interactive screens to learn more about the history of the place (Byzantine and Ottoman periods) and to solve tike puzzles. Don't miss the views from the top of the palace, they are awesome. Moreover, the place has not been taken by the crazy touristic crowd, thus, you can enjoy the visit. You can also explore the area: the fortification walls of the city and the beautiful Mihrimah Sultan Mosque are in a walking distance.
Written 30 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Phil Z
144 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
A bit of a historic gem out of the way of the more popular (and crowded!) historic sites in Sultanahmet. This Byzantine palace has been restored and rebuilt (albeit the authenticity of the restoration is open to debate) and is built into the city walls, and is very close to Chora Museum. It gives a sense of the scale ans materiality of middle and late Byzantine architecture. It is however a shame that its history as a Byzantine palace is only lightly touched on and most of the focus of the exhibition is on its time as a ceramics factory, which is somewhat underwhelming!
Written 13 July 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

azoomi
Evanston, IL316 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Friends
Here’s a place with a rich and astonishingly varied history. Paleo-Christian, Byzantine, Ummayid, Ottoman and Turk. All Erdogan wants you to know about it is that it was once a ceramics factory. At least that’s what most of the “museum” exhibits would have you think. It’s very sad that he has so much control over Turkey’s cultural heritage these days because it’s all just papered over. Wish they’d have left Blachernae Palace alone to the ruined wonders of imagination.
Written 16 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

istannbul
Nuremberg, Germany55 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2014 • Friends
Tekfur Palace is the only standing Byzantine palace in İstanbul. In order to understand Byzantine structure I suggest you to visit it, but due renovation works some parts of the palace is closed.
Written 25 June 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Carol A S
Marietta, GA4,157 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2019
Tekfur Sarayı (translates to "Palace of the Sovereign", a.k.a. Palace of the Porphyrogenitus), is a late 13th-century Byzantine palace located between the inner and outer fortifications on a northern bend in the (much earlier) Theodosian Walls. The palace ruins have been recently renovated, with a courtyard open to the sky surrounded by walls of red brick and white marble arranged in geometric designs typical of the late Byzantine period. Part of the structure has been enclosed and contains a small museum with superb samples of early Ottoman pottery and mosaics (signs in Turkish and English). The palace was constructed during the late 13th or early 14th centuries as an annex to the (much earlier) Blachernae palace complex. It was named after Constantine Palaiologos, a son of Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos. (The Greek Porphyrogenitus means "born to the purple", indicating a child born to a reigning emperor.) The palace was an imperial residence during the final years of the Byzantine Empire, and was heavily damaged during the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. Afterwards it had several purposes: it was part of the Sultan's menagerie (16th and 17th C), and then became a brothel (early 18th C). In 1719, the Tekfur Sarayı pottery workshop was set up, producing ceramic tiles similar to İznik tiles, but influenced by European designs and colors. The workshop had five kilns and also produced vessels and dishes. After about a century it went out of business, and in the first half of the 19th century the building became a poorhouse for Istanbul Jews. In the early 20th century, it was briefly used as a bottle factory, before being abandoned. Only the elaborate brick and stone outer façade survives today; one of a few examples of secular Byzantine architecture. The pottery exhibits in the museum pay tribute to the excellent craftsmanship of the Tekfur Sarayı pottery workshop. I enjoyed strolling around the uncrowded ruins, and contemplating the palace which had witnessed so much history. Tekfur Sarayi is open every day from 9 am to 6 pm during the tourist season, with no entry fee.
Written 17 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JeJeWe
Copenhagen, Denmark554 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2011 • Couples
The last Byzantine palace in Istanbul is located at the old city wall - and the ruin is actually not accessible for the public. But IF you do come by and look like you really want to see this place, one of the guys maintaining the busses might take you on a special tour around the ruin and show you the best view in Istanbul. It is definitely worth the climb.
Written 18 July 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sophie M
88 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022 • Solo
Stumbled across this while enjoying a traverse of the Constantinople walls. Not many reviews on Tripadvisor doesn’t do this little gem justice (but check out some other helpful reviews for some more detailed info on its history!).
Written 2 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Zsuzsa.Guide
Targu Secuiesc, Romania772 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2023 • Solo
For history lovers it's a must have with a long history, but not much to see inside. Worth visiting once
Written 2 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lanni
Gaziantep, Türkiye5,509 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Solo
Visiting Tekfur Palace Museum is part of my long walk exploring Byzantium historical sites, churches, fortification, palaces, and ruins. Walking along Blachernai wall to Tekfur Palace is another experience.
I was the only one tourist visited the museum. I've been told that the museum was recently opened for public. Entry fee is 10 TL for Turkish citizen and foreigner who has residency or work permit in Turkey.
Good reading of Ahmet Özbilge's book ''Fener Balat Ayvansaray" has given me a great insight about the history of the palace.

Written 20 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Berat A
Spartanburg, SC8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2019 • Family
Very well done renovations and preservation to history. Under air conditioned roof where displaying plenty items to keep you occupied. Unknown gem at least for a while. Also right next to walls where you can see the true Walls of Constantinople and watch towers. Chora museum near by.
Written 22 June 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Tekfur Sarayi - All You MUST Know Before You Go (2024)

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