The Harem Section of Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul,
The section of the Harem, which was first founded by the Conqueror, was constantly added to until to-day. It contains some two hundred and fifty rooms divided into various apartments, a few kiosks, two mosques, six bathhouses, special treasuries and even a hanging garden. The main building gives some idea of the architecture and interior decoration, as well as the manner of living, of many periods. It is difficult not to get lost in this labyrinth, in every corner of which Ono is reminded of some historical episode. Below are some of the more important subdivisions:
a) The reception rooms, the eunuchs’ apartment, the school for princes, the chamberlains’ quarters, the chief eunuch’s quarters, a mosque and a hammam.
b) The living quarters, hamam and infirmary of the odalisques and of the head servants.
c) The princess’ quarters.
d) The Valide’s apartments. (The Valide was the mother of the reigning sovereign).
e) The apartments of the bash Kadin, or chief concubine.
f) The apartments of the favorites.
g) The apartments of the heir and the independent building are known as the Cage.
h) The apartments of the Sultan. There is also an interesting hammam, to which various sultans have made additions, which consists of numerous rooms and reception rooms.
WARD OF THE BALTACI OR HALBERDIERS
A unique group, consisting of sleeping quarters, mosque, bathhouse, school, and fountain, all built of wood.
Inscriptions carved in marble during various epochs existed in scattered fashion in the cellars and gardens of the Saray. These have been collected into four groups:
a) The Tugras, or monograms, of the sultans, from Osman III., The final period. The Ottoman coat of Imam Iri in this group.
b) Description from kiosks and palaces once situ-dol in 4110 Saray grounds but now no longer in existence.
c) Inscriptions concerning pious foundations made within palace grounds by palace inmates.
d) Inscriptions from fountains built by order of the sultans or members of the imperial household.