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Saturday, September 1, 2012


Sultan Bargash (1870-88) of Zanzibar had 90 wives, concubines and slaves in his Beit al-Ajaib palace.

But more than 3 centuries earlier, Sultan Suleyman the Magnificient, established in 1541 in the Grand Seraglio at Constantinople's Topkapi Palace (now Hegia Sophia Museum, left below) the famous of all harems. It was headed by his former concubine, Hurrem Sultan, a Circassian whose fame became known as Roxelana to  the West.
Scenes of harem life in 1800's. Inside a harem, 1860 showing a flute player (R).

Prima donna or jewel of the harem (L); dinner time (R).

Left: Smoking a chibouque (long-stemmed pipe) or a nargileh (water pipe).

R: Mary Wortley Montagu, a traveller visited a hammam, Turkish bath.

The last of the harem of Turkish sultans was 1909 when the traditional practice was disbanded.


  1. This recurring theme sets you on nostalgia, Sir?

  2. No particular theme I follow but much depend on the materials ready at hand - to save time and get away with the thoughts. Am just curious by things exotic more so on the less we know even in our own setting.