Built by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in the first half of the 7th century AD, the famous Anemas Dungeons were part of the Blachernae Palace, a huge complex of royal residences and administrative buildings at the western end of Constantinople, close to the Walls of Theodosius II.
There are 14 separate dungeons, each one having 2 basement floors below ground level with cells for prisoners.
It is the only Byzantine prison that still stands today, and is unique in its architectural characteristics and many important historic memories.
Byzantine Emperor Comnenus I, Emperor Isaacius, Prince Alexius, Prince Andronicus Palaeologus, Ottoman Prince Savci Bey and many other prominent figures of the medieval period were imprisoned here.
The name "Anemas" comes from Michael Anemas, a Byzantine soldier who attempted to assassinate Emperor Alexius in 1107 but was captured and imprisoned here and blinded. However, the Emperor's daughter Princess Anna helped the blind Anemas to escape the prison.
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