What a lovely day! A bit chilly still but the sun was shining and the sky was blue. It was a wonderful day for an exploratory stroll. We wandered down towards where the Bosphorus meets the Sea of Marmara and discovered the ruins of the ancient Bucoleon Palace, not far from the Pharos lighthouse. It is believed to have been built on the orders of Emperor Theodosius (408-450) sometime in the 5th century. It's earlier name appears to have been Hormisdas, but became known as Bucoleon in the 6th century (under Justinian I) when a small harbor (now filled in) in front of the palace was built. Legend has it that a statue featuring a bull and a lion stood at the entrance to the harbor giving the port (and the palace) it's name.
When Constantinople was sacked during the Fourth Crusade (1204), the Palace was captured by Boniface of Montferrat. Among the treasures and many prizes found in the palace were the sister of the King of France (who had been Empress), the sister of the King of Hungary (who also had been empress), and Princess Margaret, daughter of Bela III of Hungary. Boniface reportedly later married Princess Margaret. Up until 1261, the Bucoleon Palace continued to be an Imperial residence, but then gradually was abandoned in favor of other palaces along the shore. Only the ruins of this once great palace remain.