Harem

The Harem’s Main Gate (also known as the Royal Gate (Saltanat Kapısı)) opens onto the guardhouse, to which are connected the Harem’s three main divisions. This area is a domed vestibule with arches. The door on the left leads through the Gallery of the Concubines to the Paved Courtyard of the Concubines and Wives. The door in the center leads to the Paved Courtyard of the Queen Mother (known as the Vâlide Sultan) and the door on the right leads to the Golden Road and the sultan’s private... ...More
The Paved Courtyard of the Queen Mother (the Vâlide Sultan) was for centuries at the center of the life of the Ottoman dynasty and of the Harem, particularly the women of the Harem’s upper class. It is believed that the buildings extending along the Golden Road side of this courtyard were constructed in the 15th century and the first half of the 16th century. When the Apartment of the Queen Mother and the bathhouse were constructed in the 16th century, this area became an enclosed inner... ...More
It is believed that the Apartments of the Wives and the Apartment of the Queen Mother located on this courtyard were built in the time of Sultan Murad III (r. 1574-95). There were three separate apartments for the wives. Each one having two storeys, fireplaces and tiled walls. The Apartments Of The Wives The Apartments of the Wives were the residences of those who had born the sultan a child. These apartments, whose lower levels were used as dormitories for servant concubines, are generally... ...More
The Apartment of the Queen Mother, reminiscent of the sultan’s own apartment with its well-ordered and detailed arrangement, was constructed by Sultan Murad III (r. 1574-95) for his mother Nurbanu Sultan. A second floor was added in the late 18th century by Sultan Selim III (r. 1789-1807) for use by his mother, Mihrişah Sultan, and himself. The apartment has a strong rococo décor and is hung with numerous landscape paintings. The apartment has tiled walls at floor level, fireplaces and... ...More
This structure was built in the late 16th century as a double hammam (bathhouse), and underwent renovations in the mid-18th century. Both hammams are built to a similar plan, with cold, warm, and hot sections. The Hammam of the Queen Mother, however, is smaller than the Hammam of the Sovereign. This structure made up of two separate hammams connected by a gallery leading to the Hall of the Sovereign (Hünkâr Sofası). The heating system found beneath the marble floors of the Hammams also extended... ...More