The Great Palace was built by the Roman emperor Constantine The Great between 324 and 337 AD as the new residence for the Roman emperors after Constantine decided to move the capital city of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople in 324 AD, and the city was proclaimed the new capital in 330 AD.
Boukoleon Palace was added into the new fortifications of the Great Palace by emperor Phocas (963-969).
The Great Palace was connected to the Kathisma (Emperor's Loge) in the Hippodrome of Constantinople through a direct passage that could be accessed only by the emperor and other members of the royal family.
The palace boasts the largest ever collection of floor mosaics. Works on the floor mosaics of the Great Palace were started during the reign of Constantinus I (306-337) and were completed during the reign of Justinianus I (527-565).
Part of the vast collection of floor mosaics can be seen at the nearby Istanbul Mosaic Museum located close to the archaeological site and dedicated exclusively to the treasures found inside the Great Palace.
Many sections of the Great Palace which include magnificent Roman mosaics, frescoes and statues were discovered as recently as 1998, and excavation works are still continuing inside this enormous archaeological site which still remains closed to public access.
The Great Palace remained as the main residence of Roman and later Byzantine emperors until 1081, when the Blachernae complex of palaces became the new imperial residence, of which the Porphyrogenitus Palace still survives.
Most Roman and later Byzantine emperors after Constantine were born in the Purple Room of the Great Palace embellished with porphyry marble, hence the title Porphyrogenitus (Born In The Purple) given to Roman princes, purple being the imperial colour of the Roman Empire.
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