Harem

The Courtyard of the Concubines and Chief Consorts was built mid-16th century at the same time with the Courtyard of the Black Eunuchs, but renovated after the fire of 1665. It is the smallest among the Harem’s courtyards.  The courtyard is surrounded, behind porticoes, by the service units such as the concubines’ baths (hamam), the laundry fountain, the kitchen, the laundry room, dormitories, coffee kitchen and the apartments of the Chief Consorts. The entrance to the apartments of the... ...More
The Interval (Mabeyn) unit was built for the Sultans during the reign of Sultan Osman III (1754-1757). The Mabeyn Courtyard was eventually opened to women with the construction of the Apartments of the Favourites (Gözdeler Dairesi) in mid-18th century. Rooms on the upper floor destined to the use of Chief/Official Consorts (Kadınefendiler) have been built under Sultan Abdülhamit I (1774-1789). The Apartments of the Favourites are to be characterized as an 18th century neo-classical wooden... ...More
The Harem’s entrance gate from the Second Courtyard is the Gate of Carriages (Arabalar Kapısı). The inscription above the gate dated 1586 specifies that the Harem was expanded under Sultan Murat III (1574-95). The Gate is also called Gate of Girls since it was the gate used by women of the Harem when they were returning to the court from the waterside summer residences or when the Mother Queens were entering the Harem after the accession to the throne of their sons.
Another important structure in this direction is the Sentry Post. It is a three-storey building allocated to the guards, who controlled the Aviary Gate (Kuşhane Kapısı) and the main entrance gate of the Harem (Cümle Kapısı).  It is connected on one side to the mezzanine where the black eunuchs guard the main entrance.
The access to the section of the Harem where the women lived was provided through the Hallway/Corridor of the Concubines. The dishes prepared in the kitchens were brought here on large trays and placed on the hallway’s counters and racks by the black eunuchs; and after they had left the area, the concubines on duty would then pick up and serve the plates to the residents of the Harem in a hierarchical order according to rank and title.