More posts about Istanbul on Ms. Adventures in Italy
The Imperial Harem (Harem-i Hümayûn) is one of the most visited sights inside the Topkapi palace just mere meters from the Blue Mosque.
I have to admit I’ve read a few historicals that were set in harems so I was curious to finally see one. The harem was at its heyday during the 16th and 17th centuries.
There are an estimated 100 rooms in the Imperial Harem, though we were only able to see a percentage of them. Here, inside the Hall of the Ablution Fountain.
The mother of the Sultan (Valide Sultan) was the most powerful woman in the harem, even more powerful than the Sultan’s numerous wives and concubines. Here, the Apartment of the Queen Mother was the closest to the Sultan’s.
This was the Imperial Hall, also known as the Imperial Sofa, Throne Room Within or Hall of Diversions, is where the Sultan would be entertained along with treasured guests and his family. On the upper left is the balcony where the Sultan’s mother and his wife/favorites could view the entertainment.
Even outside walls in some courtyards were decorated in tiles.
Like the Blue Mosque and much of Turkey, tiles are very important in the decoration of the harem, and the quality is still very clear even after so many years.
Here in the Twin Kiosk, built in the 17th century consists of two rooms, with stained glass windows and more tiles.
I loved the decorations used in the harem. The bathroom is perhaps the most stark-looking of all the rooms in the harem – all cement walls and marble floors with bright gold lavatory fixtures.
The visit to the Harem was definitely a must-see and I recommend it. You’ll have to purchase an extra ticket to see the harem, and even the audio guide is extra, but worth it.
I can only hope that they open more rooms in the future to give us a better glimpse of life in the harem. I even found an excellent 360-degree virtual visit to the Imperial Harem in Topkapi Palace worth checking.
- 360-degree virtual visit to the Imperial Harem in Topkapi Palace
- About the Imperial Harem from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Turkey
- Wikipedia’s Topkapi Palace – Harem and the Structure of the Harem
- The sultanate of women from Channel 4
- The Ottoman Harem from All About Turkey
- Another food blogger’s look at the Harem at Topkapi Palace
- Katie Parla’s posts on Istanbul