Bezmiâlem Sultan

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Bezm-i Âlem Valide Sultan
Bezmialem'in mührü.jpg
Seal of Bazm-î Âlem Valide Sultan
Born Suzanne (Suzi)
Caucasia, the Ottoman Empire
Died 2 May, 1853 (aged 45–46)
Dolmabahçe Palace, Constantinople
Resting place
The tomb of Mahmud II at Divanyolu Street in Constantinople
Residence Dolmabahçe Palace
Ethnicity Georgian or Russian
Known for Valide Sultan
Religion Christianity or Judaism at birth,converted later to Islam
Spouse(s) Mahmud II
Children Abdülmecid I

Bezm-i Âlem Valide Sultan (fully Devletlu İsmetlu Bezmiâlem Valide Sultan Aliyyetü'ş-Şân Hazretleri; 1807 – 2 May 1853) (Bezm-î Âlem or Bazim-î Âlam, meaning "feast of the world") was the second wife of Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II, and the mother of Sultan Abdülmecid I of the Ottoman Empire.

Her origins[edit]

The theories about the origin of Bezmiâlem are:

  • Some claim that she was a Russian Jew originally named Suzi (thus referred to as "Rus Yahudisi Suzi"), the daughter of Leon.[1]
  • Majority of sources however note that she is either a Georgian Jew or Christian Georgian.[2][3][4]
  • Alan Palmer writes that she was Georgian (perhaps Georgian Jew) but gives no original name.[5]
  • Captain Charles White, a Briton who spent three years in Istanbul and knew Ottoman society well, in the 1840s mentioned that Besma Allem, mother to the reigning monarch Abdülmecid I, was a Georgian slave and was purchased and educated by Esma Sultan, a sister of Mahmud II.[6] She was most probably an adoptive daughter of Esma Sultan like Rahime Perestu Sultan.
  • Majority of other sources say that she was from Georgia,[7] from the principality of Anchabadze and the daughter of an Abkhazian prince.[8][9] She was the aunt of one of Abdülmecid's wives "Verdicenan Kadınefendi" (also known as "Saliha Achba").[10]


She was married to Mahmud in 1822. As mother of Sultan Abdülmecid I, she was Valide Sultan from 1839 to 1853.[1][5] One source says Mahmud II died of alcoholism, rather than tuberculosis, and she is reported to have convinced Abdülmecid I to destroy his father's wine cellars.[11]

She was popular and respected as Valide Sultan and she also exerted political influence: it is noted, that her son and his ministers consulted her on the affairs of state. Like other influential Ottoman women, she was a patron of arts and architecture. Among notable structures she commissioned are Kasr-i Dilkusa (Dilkusa Summer Palace) in the Yıldız Palace complex, Bezm-î-Âlem Valide Sultan Fountain, and Dolmabahçe Mosque in Istanbul. Her burial place is located at Divanyolu Street inside The tomb of Mahmud II in Istanbul.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b Padişah anaları: resimli belgesel tarih romanı. Öz Yayınları. 1977. 
  2. ^ Bezmi Alem Valide Sultan, Gürcistan Dostluk Derneği
  3. ^ Bezmiâlem Valide Sultan, Bezmiâlem Vakıf Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Hastanesi
  4. ^ The Private World of Ottoman Women by Godfrey Goodwin, 2007, p.157
  5. ^ a b Palmer, Alan, The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire, p.106. Barnes & Noble Publishing, 1992. ISBN 1-56619-847-X
  6. ^ Oriental Panorama: British Travellers in 19th Century Turkey By Reinhold Schiffer, Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd., 1999, p.191
  7. ^ Kadın efendiler: 1839-1924. Profil. 2007. ISBN 978-9-759-96109-1. 
  8. ^ Sultan Vahdeddin'in San Remo günleri. Timaş Yayınları. 2009. ISBN 978-9-752-63955-3. 
  9. ^ Bir Çerkes prensesinin harem hatıraları. L & M. 2004. ISBN 978-9-756-49131-7. 
  10. ^ İlk Türk kadın ressam: Mihri Rasim (Müşfik) Açba : 1886 İstanbul-1954 New-York. As Yayın. 2007. ISBN 978-9-750-17250-2. 
  11. ^
Ottoman royalty
Preceded by
Nakşidil Sultan
Valide Sultan
2 July 1839 – 2 May 1853
Succeeded by
Pertevniyal Sultan