Kubadabad Palace

The Palace
The site was formerly only known from the descriptions of the contemporary historian Ibn Bibi, who wrote that toward the end of his reign Kayqubad himself drew up plans for the palace and assigned responsibility for their completion to his vizier Sa'd al-Din Köpek. The palace remains were first discovered in 1949 and subsequently excavated, first in the 1960s by German archaeologist Katharina Otto-Dorn and more recently by a team from Ankara University led by Rüçhan Arık. The complex comprises sixteen buildings, including two palaces, the larger of which is known as the Great Palace and measures fifty by thirty-five meters. Among its features are a game park and a small wooden dockyard that replicates the Tersane at Alanya. The Great Palace is an asymmetrical structure incorporating a courtyard, guest rooms, harem and eyvan. It is considered remarkable for its ornate figural tiles and also for its innovative layout: modeled on the caravansarai, it reflects a break with the traditional pavilion structure that characterizes earlier palaces. Kubadabad Palace is unusual for a Seljuk palace in that its location is so far from a fortified town, in contrast to palaces at Konya and Kayseri. Protection would seem to have been provided by a fortress complex located on the nearby island of Kız Kalesi. Other ruins in the area include the important Hittite site of Eflatunpınar.

Excavations at Kubadabad Palace uncovered a magnificent series of polychrome ceramic tiles now housed in Konya’s Karatay Museum. Painted with an underglaze of blue, purple, turquoise and green, the series consists of white, star-shaped figural panels alternating with turquoise crosses. Similar tiling has also been found on the Roman theater at Aspendos, which Kayqubad had converted to a palace. The subjects of the tiles include humans and animals both real and fantastic. Of particular interest are two tiles thought to show a portrait of the sultan and another showing a double-headed eagle inscribed “al-sultÄn.” The same symbols appear on other works sponsored by Kayqubad, such as the city walls of Konya.

Building Activity

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