The Ottomans had one of the largest and most institutionalized state traditions in world history. Women played particular roles in the palace culture that was shaped by the ruling dynasty’s perception of state, conception of society, and individual riches. The history of the lady sultans (mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters of the sultans) of the Ottoman dynasty is almost as important as the history of the empire itself.
The reputation and impact of the lady sultans were not limited to their life in the palace; they were also taken as role-models with their acts of beneficence in the overall Ottoman civilization. What rendered them particularly famous, though, were the education they were given, their dedication to the continuation of family life, and their individual riches. Dearly loved and respected by the society they lived in on account of their immensely beneficent nature, The lady sultans are still fondly remembered with the architectural works they commissioned and funded. A great many mosques, public baths, open and covered bazaars, and fountains that are still standing and open for public use in what used to be prominent Ottoman cities, and primarily Istanbul, were funded and established as pious endowments by the lady sultans. And a considerable portion of them happen to be in Üsküdar. One of Istanbul’s most well-known districts imbued with spirituality and culture, Üsküdar continually conceives and launches projects to better and further promote its rich heritage for the benefit of the community.
As the Üsküdar Municipality, the work we are doing to better promote the Ottoman lady sultans as well as the structures and institutions they left behind is but a part of our overall efforts. To this end, we have extended the scope of the project of the Lady Sultan Dolls Collection, which we initiated in 2016 and eventually decided to open a museum for. These dolls, produced with all their garments, jewelry, and accessories in perfect imitation of their originals, can now be visited under an institutional roof. We wish everyone an experience full of culture, art and history.