16th-century oil painting of Mihrimah Sultan by Tiziano Vecellio
|Spouse||Damat Rüstem Pasha|
|Issue||Ayşe Hümaşah Sultan
Sultanzade Murad Bey
Sultanzade Mehmed Bey
|House||House of Osman|
|Father||Suleiman the Magnificent|
21 March 1522|
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
|Died||25 January 1578
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
|Burial||Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul|
Mihrimah Sultan (Ottoman Turkish: مهر ماه سلطان, Turkish pronunciation: [mihɾiˈmah suɫˈtan]) (21 March 1522 – 25 January 1578) was the daughter of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I and his wife Hürrem Sultan. Mihrimah Sultan's name is also spelled Mihrumah, Mihr-î-Mâh, Mihrî-a-Mâh or Mehr-î-Mâh. She was born in Constantinople. Mehr-î-Mâh means "Sun (lit. clemency, compassion, endearment, affection) and Moon".
Mihrimah traveled throughout the Ottoman Empire with her father as he surveyed the lands and conquered new ones. It is written in Persian literature that she traveled into battle with her father on an Arabian stallion called Batal at the Battle of Gizah in northern Egypt outside Alexandria.
In Constantinople on 26 November 1539, at the age of seventeen, Mihr-î-Mâh was married off to Damat (literal translation, son-in-law) Rüstem Pasha (1505 -10 July 1561), the Grand Vizier under Suleiman. Though the union was unhappy, Mihrimah flourished as a patroness of the arts and continued her travels with her father until her husband's death.
The fact that Mihrimah encouraged her father to launch the campaign against Malta, promising to build 400 galleys at her own expense; that like her mother she wrote letters to Sigismund II the King of Poland; and that on her father's death she lent 50,000 gold sovereigns to her brother Sultan Selim to meet his immediate needs, illustrate the political power which she wielded.
She was not only a princess, but functioned as Valide Sultan (equivalent to "Queen Mother") to her younger brother Selim II (r. 1566 - 1574). In Ottoman Turkey, the valide sultan traditionally had access to considerable economic resources and often funded major architectural projects. Mihrimah Sultan's most famous foundations are the two Istanbul-area mosque complexes that bear her name, both designed by her father's chief architect, Mimar Sinan. Mihrimah Mosque at the Edirne Gate, at the western wall of the old city of Constantinople, was one of Sinan's most imaginative designs, using new support systems and lateral spaces to increase the area available for windows. The second mosque is the İskele Mosque, which is one of Üsküdar's most prominent landmarks. There is a myth about these two Mosques. It is said that Mimar Sinan fell in love with Mihrimah and built the smaller mosque in Edirnekapı without palace approval, on his own, dedicated to his love. The legend continues to say that on 21 March (when day time and night time are equal and Mihrimah's alleged birthday, hence the name) at the time of sunset, if you have clear view of both mosques, you will notice that as the sun sets behind the only minaret of the mosque in Edirnekapı, the moon rises between the two minarets of the mosque in Üsküdar.
Death and burial place
- Leslie P. Peirce, The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire, (Oxford University Press, 1993), 18, 201.
- Imperial Harem : Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire 1993 by Leslie Peirce, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508677-5.
- See Sinan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimar_Sinan
- Photos of Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in Edirnekapi
- Photos of Iskele Mosque (aka Mihrimah) in Uskudar
- Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in Edirnekapi
- Mihrimah Sultan -- an Ottoman princess’ legacy survives