The Harem – Part of the Topkapi Palace. To be Continued….

The Harem was a private residence of the ottoman Sultans. Harem means “forbidden” and this was a an area of the palace where no outsiders could visit. Concubines and the wives of the Sultan aswell as the Queen Mother resides in the Harem. Concubines would have their own room and would use the Hammam together. They has lower status than the wives of the Sultan and Valide Sultan (Queen Mother). If they were “lucky” enough to be chosen and to give birth to a child of the sultan, their status would change.

Eunuchs: The protectors of the Harem were Eunuchs – Black males who would have to go through castration process to prevent them from mixing with the women in the Harem and having relationships with them. New Eunuchs (the young) would be given Turkish lessons and be taught religion, manners and discipline. They were also important, especially as they had privileges over white Eunuchs. They would serve the Queen Mother and the Sultans wives

The Princes School: The princes would have lessons in the Harem and the room is highly decorated and rich. Princes would learn Arabic and other subjects.

Privy Rooms: Every Sultan would have a Privy Room. The Privy room in the Harem is a private single room where the sultan would spend time to himself. The Queen Mother of Selim III (Mihrisah Sultan) also had a privy room. These rooms were for only important people.

Hammams of the Harem: The hammams were found every where in the palace. They say any woman “lucky” enough to spend the night with the Sultan would be washed and perfumed at the hammam to prepare. Bridal preparations were also held here. The Queen Mother and the Sultan would have their own individual private hammams. It is said that the Sultan would lock the hammam and take the key in with him because of trust issues.

Apartment of the Sultans Mother: The Queen Mother was the Harem admin. Her apartment would have highly rich and decorated interior that would amaze anyone.

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