Christ of the Chalke

May 7, 2010 00:40 by haci

The Chalke Gate(Greek: Χαλκῆ Πύλη), was the main ceremonial entrance (vestibule) to the Great Palace of Constantinople in the Byzantine period. The name, which means "the Bronze Gate", was given to it either because of the bronze portals or from the gilded bronze tiles used in its roof.[1] The interior was lavishly decorated with marble and mosaics, and the exterior façade featured a number of statues. Most prominent was an icon of Christ which became a major iconodule symbol during the Byzantine Iconoclasm, and a chapel dedicated to the Christ Chalkites was erected in the 10th century next to the gate. The gate itself seems to have been demolished in the 13th century, but the chapel survived until the early 19th century.

The gate lay on the southeastern corner of the Augustaion, the main ceremonial plaza of the city, with the Hagia Sophia cathedral on the northern side and the Baths of Zeuxippos and the Hippodrome of Constantinople on the southern and western sides.

The first structure in that location was erected by the architect Aetherius during the reign of Emperor Anastasius I (r. 491–518) to celebrate the victory in the Isaurian War (492-497). Like much of the city's center, this structure burned down in the Nika riots of 532, and was subsequently rebuilt by the Emperor Justinian I (r. 527–565). This building was extensively described by the historian Procopius in his De Aedificiis. In the 7th and 8th centuries, the Chalke itself or its dependencies became a prison, until Emperor Basil I (r. 867–886) repaired it and converted it into a law court.