Today I bring you doors from The Imperial Harem, at Topkapi Palace and Museum, in Istanbul, Turkey. The Ottoman sultan’s harem occupied a secluded portion of the Palace. “The harem was the ultimate symbol of the Sultan’s power. His ownership of women, mostly slaves, was a sign of wealth, power, and sexual prowess. Not all members of the Harem were slaves. The main wives, especially those taken into marriage to consolidate personal and dynastic alliances were free women. The utmost authority in the Imperial Harem was the Valide Sultan, who ruled over the other women in the household and was often of slave origin herself.The imperial harem also served as a parallel institution to the sultan’s household of male servants. The women were provided with an education roughly on par with that provided to male pages, and at the end of their respective educations they would be married off to one another, as the latter graduated from the palace to occupy administrative posts in the empire’s provinces. Consequently, only a small fraction of the women in the harem actually engaged in sexual relations with the sultan, as most were destined to marry members of the Ottoman political elite, or else to continue service to the Valide Sultan. The court ladies with whom the sultan shared his bed became members of the dynasty and rose in rank to attain the status of Gözde, or the Favorite. (Wikipedia)
The first three pictures show the Imperial Room of the Harem, where musical entertainment, celebrations, and ceremonies were held. For Norm’s Thursday Doors
Santorini is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago, which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It’s part of the Cyclades islands. It is also one of the most beautiful islands in Greece. We stayed in the village of Imerovigli, the highest point of the caldera edge, but visited other villages on the island: Fira, the capital: Oia, and Megalochori. All stunning in their own way.