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Haseki Hurrem Sultan or Roxelana

Haseki Hurrem Sultan or Roxelana
Roxelana was the legal wife (known as a “haseki”) to the Ottoman Sultan, Suleyman the Magnificent , and was mother to his children; Sehzade Mehmed, Mihrimah Sultan, Sehzade Abdullah, Sultan Selim II, Sehzade Bayezid and Sehzade Cihangir.  Roxelana was one of the most powerful women in Ottoman history and was an important figure during the times known as the “Sultanate of Women”.  Roxelana, through her husband, achieved power and influenced the politics of the Ottoman Empire and was very active in the affairs of state.

Roxelana was known by many different names such as Haseki Hurrem Sultan, Roxolena, Roxolana, Roxelane, Rossa, and Ruzica and in Arabic as Karima which translates to “the cheerful one”.

Roxelana was one of many consorts in the Sultan’s Harem who quickly came to her master’s attention, attracting the jealousy of her rivals, and soon proved to be his favourite consort.
Roxelana’s influence over the Sultan rapidly became legendary and she went on to bear six of his fourteen children and in a shocking break of 200 years of Ottoman tradition she was given her freedom as a concubine thus becoming a legal wife of the Sultan to the astonishment of the palace court and the city. Suleyman the Magnificent was the first Ottoman emperor to have a legally married wife since Orhan Gazi and this strengthened Roxelana’s position at the palace that went on to one of her sons, Selim II, acceding to the throne.

Suleyman also permitted Roxelana to remain with him at court for the remainder of her life, which was another break from tradition, as normally when imperial heirs came of age they were sent away with their concubine mothers to govern remote provinces in the Empire, never to return unless they were to succeed to the throne.

Roxelana died in 1558 and was buried in a domed mausoleum decorated in superb and beautiful Iznik tiles that depict the garden of paradise, honouring her cheerful, joyful nature, and sits next to Suleyman’s much more solemn domed structure at the Suleymaniye Mosque complex.

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