Your travel assistant for Turkey
The Ottoman Empire, gifted children were given special education. Brilliant boys got their education in different cities of the Empire and came to the Palace. They were the secreteries first and then, ministers. Girls got their full education in the Palace. Future wifes of the sultans were chosen among the most brilliant ones. If their sons become sultans, they ruled the Empire together with them, an area which was covering North Africa, Europe as far as Hungary, all Middle East and Cafcasus. At this tour, we will be following the steps of these strongest women of the World.
Haseki Hurrem (Roxelana) Sultan, the beloved wife of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, represents one of the most prominent figures of the Ottoman history. She particularly excelled in the field of community services. The Haseki Sultan Mosque designed by the famous architect Mimar Sinan, was built in 1539 in Istanbul. The whole complex or kulliye of the Mosque consists of a madrasa, a hospital (Haseki Dar al-Shifa), and a soup kitchen (imaret). The Haseki Dar al-Shifa is still used as a polyclinic by the Haseki State Hospital.
The Suleymaniye Mosque is the "largest mosque" in the city, and one of the best-known sights of Istanbul. It was built by Mimar Sinan between 1550 and 1558, on the order of Suleyman the Magnificent. In the garden of this immense building, the tomb of Hurrem can be seen.
Two mother sultans left their footsteps on this part of the City: The tomb of Naksidil Sultan, (Aimée du Buc de Rivéry, cousin of Empress Josephine) and the Mosque of Mihrimah Sultan, the favorite daughter of Suleyman the Magnificent.
The Atik Valide Mosque (Old Mosque of the Sultan's Mother) is one of the most extensive mosque complexes in Istanbul area. The mosque was built for Nurbanu Sultan, the Venetian-born wife of Selim II and the mother of Murat III. She was the first valide sultan (mother sultan) that exercised effective rule over the Ottoman Empire from the harem during the period known as the Sultanate of Women.
This impressive mosque as well as its complex with library and hamam were ordered by Mahpeyker Kosem Sultan, wife of Ahmet I and mother of Ibrahim I. Kosem Sultan (Anastasia) was one of the most powerful women of the Ottoman 17th century and gained unprecedented influence in political decision-making.
Also known as Dolmabahce Mosque, the Mosque of Bezm-i Alem was commissioned in 1852 by Bezm-i Alem Valide Sultan, the wife of Sultan Mahmut II and the mother of Sultan Abdulhamid. According to reliable sources, she was from Georgia and her original name was Suzanna. The mosque's architect was Nikogos Balyan and his style shows a mixture of 19th century Ottoman and Western styles.
The construction of the mosque began in 1597. It was ordered by Safiye Sultan, who was the wife of Sultan Murad III and later Valide Sultan (Mother Sultan) of Sultan Mehmed III.
The original architect was Davut Aga, an apprentice to the great Mimar Sinan. However, Davut Aga died in 1599 and was replaced by Dalgıc Ahmed Cavus. The construction took more than half a century and was completed by another Mother Sultan, Turhan Sultan, mother of Sultan Mehmed IV.
The Bazaar was originally made of wood in mid-17th century by the architect Kazim Aga on the order of Hatice Turhan Sultan, the mother of Sultan Mehmet IV. The Spice Market has 86 shops inside. It is specialized on selling spices, herbs and medicinal plants. You can see and smell many interesting spices, dried fruits and nuts, teas, oils and essences, sweets, honeycombs etc.
Tombs of Nurbanu Sultan (from the Venier-Baffo Family of Venice), Safiye Sultan (with an Albanian origin) and Handan Sultan (a Greek Orthodox Christian named Helena) are to be seen at this remarkable part of the Old City.