Tekfur Sarayi
Tekfur Sarayi
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Top ways to experience Tekfur Sarayi and nearby attractions

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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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles58 reviews
Excellent
20
Very good
19
Average
14
Poor
6
Terrible
0

azoomi
Evanston, IL313 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.

Sophie M
39 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, Romania245 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 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.

David D
1,205 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022
The palace was one of the last royal residences used by the Byzantine emperors before the fall of Constantinople. Compared to other Byzantine works, this is quite small, and is built into the walls that defend the city. The restoration is quite recent, and has been well done. Unfortunately the interior museum focuses more on the palace after the fall of the city and i’s later history as a tile factory, which many may find less interesting. One nice thing about it is that it allows you to climb the walls, which is always worth doing.
Written 21 November 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.

worldnomad_01
Los Angeles, CA1,634 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022
The late 13th century Tekfur Sarayi is one of the only three Byzantine palaces that survived in the city. Its complete renovation was finished in 2021 (which includes glass doors and a nice, modern looking elevator). The massive fortification walls and towers are still impressive and so is the view of the city from the higher level. Nice interior, a beautiful sample of ceramic work and some Ottoman pottery in the museum.
Written 5 November 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.

Berthaki
Arequipa, Peru256 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.

juliebarrett1964
London, UK355 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020
We took a taxi from the old town, where we were staying as there were too many bus changes, it cost five euros. So do go, worth it, very varied, Tekfer Sarayi, a castle housing beautiful towers, great views and a lift for access. A few euros to get in. A surprise treat in a less known quarter.
We then wandered up to Chora Museum, soon to revert back to a mosque, so less will be available to view. Beautiful quarter, full of coloured houses, charming streets, very quirky, clean and a nice change of scene.
Written 14 October 2020
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, Türkiye5,226 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.

Carol A S
Marietta, GA4,202 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.

Berat A
Spartanburg, SC8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 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 Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

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