The sultan’s bedroom in the harem
The sultan’s women
A visit to the palace’s harem with more than 400 rooms that housed the Sultan’s women, the female slaves and children is very worthwhile. There is an additional fee to visit this part of the palace, so it is usually pretty quiet here. The lovely rooms with high ceilings and elegantly decorated walls with colourful tiles give the impression that the women lived in comfortable quarters. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case for most other residents. Many women in the harem, who had been taken from Georgia or the Caucasus, or who had been captured on European crusades, lived in dangerous and unhygienic conditions. The women who were invited into the sultan’s bed received special privileges. If they gave birth to his child, they moved even further up the rank and may have been entitled to their own apartment. The sultan’s bedroom with an enormous golden canopy bed is one of the most beautiful rooms in the harem.
A treasure trove of riches
During their 470-year reign, the sultans amassed an enormous collection of riches. The collection of Chinese porcelain in the palace’s kitchen is unparalleled by any other collection in the world outside of China. Celadon, the earliest Chinese porcelain, is jade-coloured. The Ottomans were very fond of it because they believed that it neutralised any poison in their food. The sultans’ gowns are still very well preserved because after the death of a sultan, the garments were carefully stored in sealed bags. Admire the beautiful caftan of Mehmet II, on display in the Hall of the Campaign Pages, which used to house the palace’s wardrobes.