Apartments of the Queen Mother

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 fountains in each of the rooms, and numerous floral decorations. On the apartment’s lower floor is a hall, a bedroom, and a prayer room, where the Queen Mother would spend much of her day. After meals, the Queen Mother would enjoy herself by watching dancers and singers from among the concubines’, or by listening to a recital from the Qur’an done by an experienced reciter or a reading from a history book. Sources also inform us that favorites of the sultan would visit the Queen Mother here. With its bathhouse, toilet, and living quarters, the Apartment of the Queen Mother effectively constituted an independently functioning structure.