Muhteşem Yüzyıl (Turkish pronunciation: [muhteˈʃæm ˈjyzjɯl], English: The Magnificent Century) is a prime time historical Turkish soap opera television series. It was originally broadcast on Show TV and then transferred to Star TV. It is based on the life of Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, the longest reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and his wife Hürrem Sultan, a slave girl who became Sultana.
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At age of 26, when his reign began, Sultan Süleyman sought to build an empire more powerful than Alexander the Great and to render the Ottomans invincible. Throughout his 46-year reign, his fame as both the greatest warrior and ruler of his age spread both East and West. With his companion Pargalı Ibrahim, Suleyman achieve great victories. Suleiman called Ibrahim his brother, friend and advisor. The television series shows Süleyman's consolidation of his power: Pargalı Ibrahim being vazir of state, reinforcing the rule of law throughout the empire, meeting foreign diplomats, and preparing for military campaigns, all set against the backdrop of the tension between Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire.
The series also focuses on the relationships among the members of the imperial household, especially romantic entanglements and rivalries. The animosity between Hürrem Sultan and Mahidevran Sultan, mother of the Sultan's eldest son, and the role of Ayşe Hafsa Sultan, the valide sultan; Hürrem's rise as Süleyman's favourite while pregnant with his son, her fall from favor after her son's birth and her eventual return to grace; Pargalı İbrahim's entanglement with Hatice Sultan, the Sultan's sister, and many others.
Meanwhile, the daughter of a Ukrainian priest, Alexandra (later Hürrem Sultan), is captured during a Tatar slave raid on her village; her father, mother, and sister are killed in the raid, but her fiance Leo survives and escapes (although she thinks he also died). Her best friend Maria (later Gülnihal) is taken in the same ship.
When Alexandra arrives she is taught a lesson: if she becomes a favorite hatun and gives birth to a son, she could rise to become a sultana and rule the world. So, to attract his attention, when the Sultan next passes by and all concubines/slaves bow in respect, she calls out his name and then faints into his arms. The other day some slaves are chosen to get Suleyman's attention. They are told that who ever gets it will be given a purple piece of cloth by the sultan. She becomes the favorite, and the Sultan names her Hürrem. Later she converts to Islam.
Mahidevran, senior "Hatun" and mother of the Sultan's surviving son, Şehzade Mustafa, becomes obsessively jealous of Hürrem. Blaming Hürrem for her own miscarriage, Mahidevran beats her up badly; when Süleyman finds out, Mahidevran falls even further from his favor.
During Süleyman's campaign against Belgrade, recently married Victoria's husband is killed during their escape. Victoria, later Sadika, goes to Constantinople to take revenge.
Hürrem becomes pregnant with their first son, Şehzade Mehmed. Süleyman calls her to his chambers to eat sweetmeats, but these have been poisoned by Mahidevran. Hürrem eats the sweets and passes out, but Süleyman manages to rescue her. Süleyman's displeasure with Mahidevran increases.
Hürrem becomes pregnant with Süleyman's and her first and only daughter, Mihrimah Sultan. After giving birth she gives a party in the Harem, but then gets in a fight with another favorite, Ayşe Hatun, and threatens to kill her. Sadika kills Ayşe because Ayşe suspects she is up to something, but because Hürrem threatened her and all evidence seems to prove that Hürrem killed her. Süleyman banishes her to the old palace. Ibrahim tells Hürrem that she can come back to the Topkapı Palace if she agrees to says sorry to Mahidrevren Initially Hürrem refuses, but then changes her mind.
Hatice Sultan (Sultan Süleyman's sister) falls in love with Ibrahim (Sultan's best friend). Ibrahim is made the grand vizier of the Ottoman empire. Ibrahim Pasha is married to Hatice Sultan. After that, Hürrem gives birth to a boy Şehzade Selim and Sultan goes with her on a trip in the forest. Selim remains with Gülnihal.
Then Süleyman goes hunting with Mustafa, Hürrem and Mehmet, but he doesn't take Mahidrevan. Hatice is pregnant meanwhile there's a civil war and during that she loses her child.
Leo, Hürrem's former fiancé, finds out where Hürrem is and becomes the royal painter to get close to her. Ibrahim Pasha discovers the truth about their relationship. He tells Hürrem that unless she feeds Leo poisoned Turkish delights, he will tell the Sultan about Leo himself.
Süleyman is in a pavilion outside Ibrahim Pasha's palace, enjoying the view and eating grapes with Sadika serving him. Sadika is seen bringing a tray with a glass of almond juice, but with a dagger concealed beneath it; Hürrem cries as she feeds Leo the poisoned Turkish delights. Süleyman is threatened with a dagger at his throat.
Before Sadıka was able to kill Süleyman, he manages to disarm her and she is sentenced to prison. Later she is killed by Matrakçı who is found guilty for helping her to post messages and killing Sadika is his punishment. Hürrem gives birth to another boy, Şehzade Bayezid.
Spanish Princess Isabella and her servant are kidnapped by Turkish pirates and sold to Süleyman. They live in isolation in forest in a hunting lodge. Süleyman wants to use them as an advantage when he bargain with European sovereigns. Isabella wants to escape and when she fails several times. Hürrem is jealous and threatens Isabella. Eventually she helps her to escape but the princess is stopped by Ibrahim. Isabella falls in love with Süleyman, she moves into the harem and becomes Süleyman's favorite. Hürrem with the help of Gül, Nigar and Nilüfer succeed in sending her into Wien, where she had resorting to the monastery.
Meanwhile Bali Bey falls in love with a Jewish girl called Armin. The relationship is against the will of Armin's father and he makes her leave the city. When she returns, she is gravely ill. Bali Bey eventually marries her with the blessing of her father and next day she dies.
Hatice gives birth to a boy but she accidentally kills him. She leaves her palace and goes to Edirne in order to recover. Meanwhile, Ibrahim once sleeps with Nigar and then he sends her to Topkapi Palace. After some time, Ibrahim leaves for war and Hatice calls Nigar back to her palace. Nigar is in love with Ibrahim. When Ibrahim comes back, Nigar tries to commit suicide but Ibrahim saves her.
Hatice becomes pregnant with twins. Mahidevran gives the Valide Sultan Leo's diary about Hürrem, which Gülşah picked up after Hürrem threw it out of window in a desperate attempt to get rid of it. The Valide calls Hürrem to her chambers, but then the Valide faints. Hürrem calls for help and then she attempts to take the diary. Daye notices it and takes it before Hürrem can. She later gives it to the Valide Sultan and she uses it to make Hürrem Sultan leave. To save herself, Hürrem offers an estate to Daye which she eventually accepts and in exchange Daye gives the dairy to Hürrem. When the Valide comes to Hürrem's chambers, Hürrem throws the diary into fire, destroying the only evindence of her and Leo's possible affair.
Hürrem tells Süleyman that she cannot make charity because she is a slave. Süleyman frees her and when he goes to her room for a night, she tells him that she cannot share a bed with him because she is a free woman and her religion forbids her from sharing a bed with a man if she is not married, Süleyman thinks that she did the drama of the charity because she wants to marry him. She is sent to another palace under the orders of the Sultan and the Valide Sultan sets a trap for her, she puts some attackers to kill Hürrem but Bali Bey saves her. She is back to Topkapi Palace and the Sultan decides to marry her.
After marrying Hürrem Sultan, Sultan Süleyman comes to give the Valide Sultan the news of his action, but when Hürrem Sultan tries to kiss her hand she stands up and shows displeasure with his deed which she considers unacceptable. The Valide faints in the Sultan's arms and they take her to her chambers to rest.
Ibrahim is shot during the ceremony with an arrow and it turns out that it was poisoned. Hürrem is afraid that they would blame her for this because she did send an archer to kill Ibrahim, but she called off the attack at the last minute when she saw Hatice was upset. Ibrahim's attacker was another archer sent by one of the viziers to kill him. The arrow is poisoned and Ibrahim becomes seriously ill. Nigar, Matrakçı and Sümbül travel to heal Ibrahim in one of the hot springs. Hatice is worried because she thinks that Ibrahim will die.
Furious, Mahidevran comes to Süleyman's door and asks his guardian to announce her, but Süleyman refuses to receive her arguing that he is busy. She requests her freedom to spend her life as a free woman which Süleyman denies. She then asks him to send her to exile with her son as happens when princes become of age, but he tells her she can leave, but his son stays with him. Mustafa convinces his father to send them both to Edirne Palace.
At the Valide Sultan's initiative, her niece Aybige comes to Topkapi palace from Crimea, to be protected from the succession infighting between the Valide's brothers upon the death of their father, the Crimean ruler. They tell Aybige to stay away from Hürrem because she could be a bad influence on her, but she is stubborn and Hürrem is known all the way to her homeland so she decides to be friends with her. She falls in love with Bali Bey during this season as he is the one in charge of security of the entire royal family.
Ibrahim falls in love with Nigar because she took care of him during his illness. Nigar Hatun is married to Matrakçı Nasuh Efendi on initiative of Hatice and the Valide Sultan. Nigar is not pleased by her wedding because she is in love with Ibrahim, the Grand Vizier. On her first night in her new house, she is surprised to see Ibrahim entering and he tells her that he and Matrakçı had a deal and that he is the one she will be with from now on. Nigar is happy at this turn of events.
Meanwhile, Hatice gives birth to twins, one boy and one girl (Osman and Huricihan) and Ibrahim is happy to see her holding both babies in her hands and also surprised. Nigar is not pleased by this.
Time passed and at the age of 17, Mustafa comes back to Topkapi to be with his father until he is sent into exile.
While the Sultan is away at war, the Valide Sultan and Mahidevran conspire against Hürrem. The Valide Sultan places a spy and pretends to let Hürrem lead the harem for a while. During the rebellion provoked by the Valide's spy, Fatma, one of the slaves is accused of stealing gold and the innocent girl burns herself. The slaves take torches and march towards Hürrem's chambers and try to burn her, but Daye and the guardians save her. Daye gets fired for this.
When Sultan comes back and finds out what happened, he gives the Valide Sultan a lecture about how she is not capable of leading the harem and he is tired of all the fights. He is also angry with Ibrahim because he didn't give him Hürrem's letter while they were in the war, but Ibrahim says that he didn't want to worry him and that he has given orders to Daye and Nigar to protect Hürrem ever since Sultan made him responsible for her life. Sultan gives Daye back her post.
Hürrem and Mahidevran fight after Gülşah gets Daye's position and Mahidevran tries to slap her. Süleyman arrives and makes her apologize after which she goes crying to her chambers. Mustafa barges into Hürrem's chambers to talk to his father and they have a huge discussion about the way Hürrem manipulates him after which Süleyman tries to invite Mustafa to his chambers which he refuses. Mustafa almost loses his father's support when he doesn't want to come to Hagia Sofia with him, but Ibrahim manages to make him see reason.
Hürrem gets into a fight with Mustafa, and Süleyman gives Mustafa his place. Hürrem is displeased so they have an argument.
Mustafa falls in love with a concubine named Nora (later Efsun) and she gets pregnant. Mustafa doesn't know that Efsun works for Hürrem Sultan and has orders to poison him. She puts poison in his food, but at the last moment she regrets and trips over the food. Mustafa gets sick, and Mahidevran concludes that it was all Hürrem's doing even though Mustafa didn't drink the poison, he gave it to ahmad the courageous only for him to kill himself for the prince and the country
Fatma Hatun blames Efsun for working for Hürrem so Mahidevran asks her to tell her a secret about Hurrem. Efsun asks Hurrem if she has another plan, Hürrem asks Efsun to tell Mahidevran about Aybige and Bali Bey's affair so that Mustafa and Mahidevran get hurt. When Aybige leaves to go back to her homeland with Bali Bey, Hurrem sends another message using Efsun that both of them are running away and they shall never come back. Mahidevran tell Süleyman about them who sends ships after them to bring them back.
Cihangir, Hürrem's youngest son gets sick, and she doesn't tell Süleyman which infiuriates him, but after seeing his son so sick, he and Hürrem unite and he calls a doctor. Cihangir is developing a hump and they try to fix it by physiotherapy while he is still a baby. Cigangir gets better even though he can't recover fully and Süleyman has a heart attack. Mahidevran is conscious that when Süleyman dies, her son would be the Sultan so she tries to convince Mustafa that he needs to take precautions with his brothers which he refuses. She then talks with Ibrahim, the Valide Sultan hears this and sends Hürrem and her children to Hatice's saray to protect them. When Süleyman wakes up Mahidevran falls even more from grace.
Meanwhile Bali Bey and Aybige are brought back from the sea and Bali Bey tells the truth to Süleyman infront of Mustafa and Ibrahim. Süleyman asks Mustafa to decide Bali Bey's fate. First Mustafa announces Bali's death but on the day of punishment he forgives him. Bali Bey resigns and returns to his homeland. Aybige also returns to Crimean, her homeland.
Mahidevran finds out that Efsun is pregnant and wants to make her abort, but Mustafa stops her and sends Efsun to his chambers. Hürrem tells the Valide about Efsun's pregnancy and the Valide sends Daye to get rid of the baby. Mustafa doesn't manage to save her this time, and baby and Efsun die. But before her death she is warns Mustafa to stay away from Hürrem as Hürrem tried to poison her. Mahidevran tell this to Süleyman who offers poison to her. As Hürrem shows no reluctance in drinking the poison, Süleyman believes that she is innocent. She survives as Süleyman was just testing her with a medicine.
Nigar gets pregnant with Ibrahim's baby. Gülşah intrigued against Daye which caused Daye to kill a healer by accident so they fired her and threw her out of harem. Mahidevran is happy because she thinks Gülşah will get the post again, but is surprised to hear the Valide giving the post to Nigar. Then Valide finds out about Ibrahim's affair with Nigar Hatun, because Adrees Ağa followed Ibrahim Pasha and told all the relation between Ibrahim and Nigar to the Valide Sultan that's why she wants to fire her. She comes to Süleyman's chambers to inform him, but suffers a stroke before saying anything. She eventually passes away and Mahidevran rules the harem which she immediately uses in her favor to get the Valide's chambers which Süleyman doesn't allow. She also buys many unnecessary things and exceeds the budget and she has to take a loan from a Jewish loan shark. Gülfem is given Daye's former post.
Hürrem wants to get rid of Mahidevran and Mustafa. Mustafa is set on leave to the province of Manisa but Ibrahim convinces Süleyman to let Mahidevran stay in the harem. Hürrem with Gül's help makes a plan that would convict Mahidevran of trying to murder the Valide. However Nigar witnesses Gül's action and tells Ibrahim. Gül is fired for it and leaves the saray.
Gülşah tries to get rid of Mahidevran's maid Fatma but it all turns against her. She is fired and Mahidevran wants her to marry. Desperate, Gülşah wants to be Hürrem's servant but Hürrem sends her away and tells her that she would have no profit from Gülşah being her maid. Gülşah later overhears a conversation between Ibrahim and Nigar about Nigar's pregnancy. She accidentally breaks a vase and Ibrahim and Nigar realize that someone heard them. Gülşah wants to tell Hürrem what she found out but Hürrem isn't in her chamber and Gülşah is driven out of the saray before Hürrem's return. Nigar later realizes that it was Gülşah who overheard her and she tells Ibrahim. Ibrahim orders Gülşah to be killed and she is stabbed several times and left in the wilderness to die. However, she survives and tells Hürrem about Nigar's pregnancy and eventually becomes Hürrem's maid.
After the Valide's death, Daye leaves the saray. She gives all her property to charity and works as a servant of a wealthy woman. Hürrem wants to help her but Daye refuses. Eventually Daye commits suicide.
Nigar is supposed to leave the saray and go to Ibrahim's brother. Hürrem kidnaps her during the journey and hides her. Gülşah takes care of Nigar. Hürrem sends a message to Hatice that Ibrahim is unfaithful and reveals the whereabouts of Nigar. Nigar successfully escapes but Hatice arrives and stops her. She arrests her but Nigar says that the father of her baby is Matrakçı. Matrakçı confirms it. Hatice confronts Hürrem who sends for Gülsah who witnessed Nigar and Ibrahim. Hatice later confronts Ibrahim who admits cheating and being the father of Nigar's baby. Hürrem intrigues against Mahidevran making her look like someone who wanted to strangle Gülfem. Süleyman gives Hürrem the leadership of the harem and the season ends with everybody bowing to her and Mahidevran looking at her angrily.
After İbrahim's affair with Nigar becomes known, İbrahim leaves the city on a campaign against Persia. After his return he manages to rescue his relationship to Hatice Sultan. Hatice orders Nigar's beheading but Hürrem manages to save her life through Rüstem Ağa, who was a trusted man of Iskender Chelebi and now serves Hürrem Sultan. Nigar Kalfa gives birth to a child but Hatice hides the child from both İbrahim and Nigar. İbrahim and Hatice decide that Nigar should be married to Rüstem. Against his desire, Rüstem marries Nigar on Hürrem's instruction but does not keep any intimate relationship with her. Firuze, a new girl in the Harem manages to become the first favorite of the Sultan after Hürrem. Conspired by Hatice, the whole Harem tries to save her from Hürrem's revenge.
Mihrimah Sultan is in love with Yahya, Şehzade Mustafa's closest friend. Mustafa sets out to Manisa where he serves as a Sancak Beyi.
Süleyman want to go on a hunting trip but his daughter doesn't want to come because Firuze is coming and not her mother, Hürrem. Hürrem threatens to kill Firuze.
Few years later Hürrem discovers Qadar, the secret daughter of nigar and İbrahim. Hürrem notifies İbrahim. Hürrem gives the child to İbrahim.
Fatma Hatun gives birth to a boy. Süleyman goes to Manisa to see Mustafa's son and names the boy Süleyman as his name. Hürrem, Şehzade Mehmed and Mihrimah also go with Süleyman. Seeing Süleyman's closeness to Mehmed, Mustafa starts feeling threatened by Mehmed. On a secret meeting with İbrahim, the Grand Vizier manages to persuade the prince to send Helena away.
While trying to kill Firuze on Hürrem's command, Rüstem finds out that the tattoo on her neck is connected to the Safavid dynasty . He notifies Hürrem, who informs Süleyman and the Sultan decides to send her away.
Hürrem and İbrahim continue struggling against each other. Süleyman is getting suspicious about İbrahim.
Süleyman executes İbrahim and then sends the corpse to İbrahim's palace. Hatice becomes very sad about the death of her beloved and disowns her brother Süleyman. Together Hatice and Mahidevran plan on killing Hürrem by sending Diana, Mahidevran's servant, to murder Hürrem as a revenge, since they see Hürrem responsible for the execution of İbrahim. Şah Sultan decides to stand against Hürrem for her self-interests. Nasuh sends Esma, İbrahim's later daughter, to İbrahim's family as Nigar, her mother, is now married to Rüstem.
Diana didn't success by killing Hürrem and now Diana is serving Hürrem loyally. Şah makes Hürrem think that Mustafa is coming to usurp the throne from his father while Süleyman is on a campaign and that Süleyman and her sons are wounded and trapped. Hürrem decided to take her sons, Bayezid and Cihangir (whom stay in the Palace) away from Mustafa. But, Şah took Hürrem's sons to an old farm. Hürrem discovers this and get there personally to save her sons. But Şah was waiting for her there and told Hürrem that all of this was only a game. Hürrem decided to finish with Şah. Mihrimah is warned by her mother not to trust anyone except her.
Hatice wants to finish with Hürrem because she's seeing Şah doing nothing. Hatice sends someone to tell Hürrem that her daughter Mihrimah was in Mormor Palace but in reality, Mihrimah is still in the Palace. When Hürrem gets there, Hatice ordered a lady to put something in Hürrem's mouth. Hürrem awake in her room and forgot everything. After sometimes, Hürrem discovers that she's being witched and she warned Hatice of not playing with her. Şah gets angry of Hatice of doing things behind her back. Şah has another plan to get rid of Hürrem. Hürrem speaks with a priest and she recites the Quran to feel well. Süleyman gets another time to a campaign and Bayezid stays in the Palace. Angry, Bayezid escaped the Palace and goes in the campaign without anyone to know. But, Selim saw him and Bayezid returned to the Palace. Hürrem decided to rent money from Rakilah, a girl who rents money but, the money has been stolen by Şah. So, Hürrem was obliged to rent money from another one before the Harem's girls make problems. Rakilah took orders from Şah to say to Hürrem that Portia Hatun can perhaps help Hürrem. Portia is a Venetian woman and the Sultan was at war with Venice at that time. Hürrem took the money from Portia and then gives back the gold. The Sultan returned from the campaign and sets in Edirne. Şah took the papers of Hürrem and Portia's trait and gets to Edirne to explain everything to Süleyman. But, Hürrem sends guards to attack the cars of Şah. Şah gives them the fake papers and gives the real ones to Süleyman. Süleyman decides to exile Hürrem in Edirne and then he returns to Topkapı Palace. Şah orders Rüstem Pasha to kill Hürrem Sultan while she's in Edirne. But, he refused and decided to stay loyal to Hürrem. Rüstem decides that in marrying Mihrimah Sultan, his relation with Süleyman can get closer and he is going to enter the Diwan. Hürrem accepted but Mihrimah refused when she saw her mother in Edirne.
A Black Death epidemy breaks out and Ayas Mehmed Pasha and Mustafa Pasha die from the epidemy. Then, Lütfi Pasha becomes Grand Vizier and Şah is now more powerful. A doctor saves Hürrem by telling the Sultan that the illness comes to Edirne. Hürrem returns in Topkapı. Süleyman decided to marry Hatice to Hüsrev Pasha. She is obliged to accept but she continues living in her old Palace. When Süleyman gets to know this, he sends Hatice to the palace of Hüsrev. Mihrimah accepts to marry Rüstem. Mustafa falls in disgrace from his father because he's doing things without telling his father. Hürrem tells Mihirmah her decision of marrying Mihirmah with Rüstem and Mihirmah becomes upset. Hatice, Lütfi and Şah have a plan to get rid of Rüstem so he can not marry Mihrimah. Mahidevran suggests not to kill Rüstem but creating rumors that Rustem is very sick. Süleyman is sending a doctor to confirm Rüstems sickness. The doctor finds a louse on Rüstem's head and takes it to Istanbul as a sign that Rüstem is healthy. Rüstem is coming back to Istanbul to marry Mihrimah.
Mihrimah gives birth to a girl named Ayşe. Şah sends Mihrimah a girl to give milk to Ayşe. Lütfi proposes to Süleyman to send Mehmed, Selim and Beyazid as according to the traditions.
Nigar returns to Istanbul. She meets Şah and she wants to take revenge. Hatice and Şah accept. They help Nigar entering in the Palace of Rüstem and Mihrimah. At night Nigar should kill Rüstem and Hürrem . But, when she sees Mihrimah's daughter, she thinks about her own daughter and takes the child of Rüstem and Mihrimah away. Nigar passes baby back to Rüstem while a soldier aims to kill her on the order of Şah Sultan but she commits suicide and the soldier was not able to kill her.
Lütfi Pasha continues his crusade against prostitution. When one of the convicts makes fun of him he gets angry and punishes her without the permission of the judge. Şah discovers this and shouts at Lütfi. Lütfi beats and slaps Şah. Şah divorces from him, and he loses his position and is sent far away.
Mustafa meets the Austrian ambassador. This leads to a conflict between Süleyman and Mustafa. Süleyman punishes Mustafa by not allowing him to participate in the upcoming campaign. And after the campaign, Mustafa will not return to Manisa but to Amasya. This lead to discussions between Mehmed and Mustafa.
A fake letter tells Hürrem that her son Selim is very sick. Hürrem is now going to Konya to see her son. But in reality, he is pretty well and now Hürrem is captured in a secret place. Mihrimah is accusing Şah, Hatice and Mahidevran for this. Süleyman gets very upset. Hatice commits suicide fearing from the sultan's decision after knowing that she was responsible for Hürrem's disparition. She died knowing that she took vengeance on her husband's death.
Süleyman decides to go for war against Charles V, and he achieves a victory, while on the other hands:
- Malkoçoğlu Bali Bey finds a lead on Ali Ağa (who was Hatice's servant and is responsible for abducting Hürrem) and he went to follow this lead without informing Sultan Süleyman.
- Mihrimah discovers that her aunt Şah is having a spy in the Harem (her daughter's care taker) and confront her with the fact and threats her to inform her father (Süleyman) if she doesn't leave the city and gives away her money to Hürrem's charity institute.
- Süleyman's son, Mehmed, gets murdered by his closest Şahinbey (Ilyas who works for Mahidevran) by wounding him and transferring a contiguous disease to him. The news reaches Süleyman who falls in deep sorrows and feels that every thing is falling apart.
While Süleyman is in his sorrow, Rüstem comes to him to tell him that a miracle happened which is Hürrem came back to the palace safe and sound. Süleyman tells Hürrem after her returning to the palace that he missed her. After some years, Süleyman writes on a paper the name of his sons who will replace Mehmed as Sanjak Bey of Manisa. Bayezid shows love to his family as giving a horse to Mihrimah and a jewel for Hürrem. Mustafa is worried about his fathers opinions because he was accompanied to the palace by Janissaries. Mahidevran comes to the palace and argues with Hürrem while they're watching Cihangir's accolade ceremonial. He is quite shy and scared. Hürrem and Rüstem are com plotting against Mustafa while Mustafa earns the love of public, soldiers and Pashas because of his bravery, intelligence and his similarity to his grandfather Selim I. A slave girl named Cecilia comes to the palace. She is the daughter of a Venetian nobleman but now she can't stand serving and taking a shower herself. Then, while trying to kill herself, Selim saves her and she falls in love with him. She wants to become a great Sultana by going with him at his Sanjak. She asks Hürrem but she refuses. Süleyman announces his decision. Selim is chosen for Manisa Sanjak. Everyone is surprised. Mahidevran and Mustafa are worried. Everyone thinks throne is the right of Mustafa. Also, Mustafa's concubine who is pregnant is worried about him. Beyazid is also angry on the decision and thinks that his father does not love him.
Hürrem is searching for a good maid for Selim as Cecilia comes and asks Hürrem again about going with Selim. She tells her that she saw in the stars her destiny by Hürrem's hand. Hürrem accepts and now Ceciliais Convert to Islam and is renamed Nurbanu. Hayreddin Pasha tells Mustafa that if he is chased from his father's paradise, he shall build his own. Hürrem send men to kill Mustafa on his way back to Amasya. His concubine dies with her child from the attack but Mustafa survives. He is secretly protected by someone (Atmaca).
Süleyman often talks with Ebussuud Efendi about the state. Beyazid and Selim are always fighting as in Matrak, Horse-race, and always arguing to become the favourite of their father. Hürrem Sultan is sick. It is shown that she can't have children anymore. She is keeping it secret. Fatma Sultan, Sultan Süleyman's sister comes to the Palace with a special guest, Hatice Sultan's daughter, Huricihan Sultan. Fatma Sultan conspires against Hürrem because Mustafa sent her for this. She sent a new concubine for Süleyman. Süleyman is angry over Rüstem for his in-effective management and public is complaining about his performance. Nurbanu is trying every possible way to become favorite of Selim. Rüstem kidnaps Hayrredin Pasha's daughter and asks him to tell the Sultan that Rüstem was wrongly accused for fighting with Ali Ağa and Janisariens. Huricihan Sultan and Bayezid fall in love. Their relationship is discovered by Süleyman and Huricihan is sent to live with Beyhan Sultan.
Mustafa secretly marries Hayrredin Pasha's Daughter "Mihrünnisa". Cecilia is renamed Nurbanu and becomes sultana and gives birth to a prince which the sultan names "Murad". Valeria, who was Cecilia's servant is now named Nazenin and is Süleyman's concubine. She gives birth to a girl named Raziye Sultan. Valeria and Süleyman go to Manisa to visit Selim and name his child. Süleyman saw Selim while Selim is drunk. Süleyman gets very angry and he pushes him away. Nurbanu is given an order by Hürrem to kill Nazenin. Nurbanu Sultan succeeds in her mission and Nazenin is now dead. Bayezid decides to marry Huricihan secretly.
Piri Ries, who is the manager of people who seek to protect Mustafa at all costs, plans to assassinate Hürrem but she survives and Afife Hatun dies. On Afife's death bed, she tells Hürrem that the sultan is extremely ill. The sultan comes back from the raid and he is extremely ill and faints several times. He is so ill and everyone says he is going to die and Mustafa will rise to the throne but, Süleyman is still alive.
Süleyman wanders the name of his oldest son Mustafa. Hürrem tells Rüstem "This may be his last wish.". Hürrem has no choice. She concedes the power of Mustafa and tells Rüstem that Süleyman wants Mustafa to come. Rüstem calls him but also he plans an assassination to kill Mustafa. But Mustafa guessed it and got through it. In the meantime, Rüstem convinces Selim to calm Janisseries in order to make sure Bayezid will be the next Sultan. He knows Selim can't survive through that. Nurbanu learns that and tells it to Hürrem. Then Mustafa arrives to the palace. Hürrem requests Mustafa to save Selim because she knows only Mustafa can stop and command soldiers except for Süleyman. Mustafa saves Selim and returns to the palace with Selim. But Hürrem fears the power and prestige of Mustafa and she wants him to be executed.
Hürrem, with help of Rüstem and Mihirmah, sends a fake letter to the Iranian Shah Tahmasp. In the letter she mentions about ruling the empire and getting on throne while disposing off Suleiman. Suleiman believes that Mustafa has betrayed him when he sees Mustafa's seal on the letter.
In year 1553, In Konya Sultan Suleyman orders Mustafa's execution. As soon as Mustafa enters sultan's tent executioners come and grab him, many people attempts to kill him and Mustafa finally dies. Mustafa's only son Mehmet is also killed on the order of the Sultan. The janissaries mourn over Mustafa's body and vow to avenge his death by taking Rustem's life. The Sultan fires Rüstam of his post because he is suspicious about Rüstam and the janissaries finally are at peace.
Süleyman mourns at the lost of his son Mustafa, and begins to question his decision of killing. Cihangir dies of heartbreak after his brother's death. Mahidevran and Mihrünnisa arrive at Topkapi shortly. Soon after, Mustafa's wife Mihrünnisa tells Hürrem that my winter is over but yours has just started and then commits suicide by sliting her throat in front of everyone in the harem. Mahidevran along with Nergisşah Sultan and Fidan travel to Bursa where Mahidevran spends all her allowance to build Mustafa's tomb.
Fatma Sultan's husband Kara Ahmed Pasha becomes the next grand vizier but soon after he is executed by the Sultan for intriguing against Bayezid by sending money to the group of rebels supporting the fake Mustafa. Fatma plans to kill Hürrem but the Sultan saves her at the right time and Fatma gets kicked out of Topkapı Palace forever.
Huricihan and Nurbanu have a fight and accidentally Nurbanu kills Huricihan. Hürrem finds out but Nurbanu black mails her and gets away with it; however Hürrem and Nurbanu declare open war against each other after this. Hürrem tries to kill Nurbanu but did not success. Bayezid and Selim return to their sanjaks and a strange girl named Defne enters Bayezid's harem and catches his attention becoming his favorite hatun. Defne, on the order of Nurbanu, tries to poison Bayezid but she is caught by Atmaca and it is revealed that she is pregnant and she did all this on the order of Nurbanu as she has Defne's sister as a captive. Bayezid gets angry and in the rage of anger he writes a letter to the Sultan explaining him Selim's actions. Bayezid with many janissary soldiers sets out for Manisa to take Selim into the account for all what he has done. Meanwhile Hürrem is travelling to Manisa and on her way she feels sick and it is revealed that she has an illness which has no cure and that her death is near. Beyazid and Selim declare open war against each other. Hurrem says that she would prefer for Beyazid to be the next sultan, with Mihrimah and Rustem's support, but later decides she cannot choose between her sons. Hurrem dies, and Mihrirmah and Rustem begin to work on Beyazid's succession. Selim blackmails Rustem because Rustem had an affair with another woman, and Rustem switches sides. Mihrimah falls in love with a man named pedro. Beyazid and Selim have a huge war, (selim with the sultan's support), and Beyazid and his children are killed. Defne commits suicide and kills her son so Nurbanu cannot have the satisfaction of killing her. Selim becomes the next in line. Suleyman goes to war and wins the battle. Meanwhile, Selim is growing older and more depressed with guilt. Mihrimah hates him and calls him a brother killer. selim tries to scare her, but she reminds him that she will be his valide sultan. Selim and Mihrimah make up, and are once again loving siblings, but Mihrimah secretly plots to have Selim's son succeed him, and builds him up. Back at the camp, Suleyman, after winning the war, knows he is going to die. He thinks of Hurrem, and dies. Selim becomes the next sultan, and season ends with a happy but very sad ending.
|Season||Timeslot||Season premiere||Season finale||No. of episodes||Section range||Season's years||TV Channel|
|1||Wednesday 20:00||January 5, 2011||June 22, 2011||24||1 - 24||2011||Show TV|
|2||Wednesday 20:00||September 14, 2011||June 6, 2012||39||25 - 63||2011 - 2012||Show TV, Star TV|
|3||Wednesday 20:00||September 12, 2012||June 19, 2013||40||64 - 103||2012 - 2013||Star TV|
|4||Wednesday 20:00||September 18, 2013||June 11, 2014||36||104 - 139||2013 - 2014||Star TV|
|Actor name||Role name||Explanation||Season|
|Halit Ergenç||Sultan Süleyman||The 10th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire||1–4|
|Meryem Uzerli||Hürrem Sultan||Haseki Sultan and legal wife of the Sultan, Mother of five of the Sultan's children||1–3|
|Nur Fettahoğlu||Mahidevran Sultan||Sultan Süleyman's concubine and the mother of Şehzade Mustafa||1–4|
|Okan Yalabık||Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha||Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Süleyman's best friend||1–3
4 (voice only)
|Nebahat Çehre||Ayşe Hafsa Sultan||Valide Sultan of Sultan Süleyman, Sultan Selim's widow||1–2|
|Pelin Karahan||Mihrimah Sultan||Sultan Süleyman's and Hürrem Sultan's only daughter, Rüstem Pasha ′ s wife, Ayse Hümásah and Osman′s mother.||1–4|
|Mehmet Günsür||Şehzade Mustafa||Sultan Süleyman's eldest and Mahidevran Sultan's only child, first heir to the throne||1–4|
|Selma Ergeç||Hatice Sultan||Sultan Süleyman's sister, Ibrahim Pasha's wife, mother of Osman and Huricihan||1–3|
|Berrak Tüzünataç||Mihrünnisa Sultan||Şehzade Mustafa's wife, Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha's daughter||4|
|Gürbey İleri||Şehzade Mehmed||Sultan Süleyman's and Hürrem Sultan's first child, Esmehan Sultan's husband||1–3|
|Ozan Güven||Rüstem Pasha||Mihrimah Sultan's husband and Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire||3–4|
|Engin Öztürk||Şehzade Selim||Sultan Süleyman's and Hürrem Sultan's third child and later the 11th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire,father of Murad III||1–4|
|Merve Boluğur||Nurbanu Sultan||Legal wife of Şehzade Selim, later Valide Sultan of Sultan Murad III||4|
|Aras Bulut İynemli||Şehzade Bayezid||Sultan Süleyman's and Hürrem Sultan's fourth child||2–4|
|Tolga Sarıtaş||Şehzade Cihangir||Sultan Süleyman's and Hürrem Sultan's fifth and last child||2–4|
|Deniz Çakır||Şah Sultan||Sultan Süleyman's sister, Lütfi Pasha's wife, Esmehan Sultan's mother||3|
|Meltem Cumbul||Fatma Sultan||Sultan Süleyman's sister, Kara Ahmed Pasha's wife||4|
|Burak Özçivit||Malkoçoğlu Bali Bey||Majordomo, in love with Aybige Hatun, Mihrimah's love||2–3|
|Tuncel Kurtiz||Ebussuud Efendi||Kadı of Istanbul, later Şeyhülislam efendi||3–4|
|Filiz Ahmet||Nigar Hatun||Servant and apprentice in the harem, Ibrahim′s lover and confidant and mother of his daughter Esmanur||1–3|
|Serkan Altunorak||Taşlıcalı Yahya Bey||One of the famous poets of the era, Friend and supporter of Şehzade Mustafa||3–4|
|Sarp Akkaya||Atmaca||Friend and supporter of Şehzade Mustafa and then Şehzade Bayezid||4|
|Selim Bayraktar||Sümbül Ağa||Chief eunuch of the harem and Hürrem Sultan's closest confidant.||1–4|
|Actor name||Role name||Explanation||Season|
|Selen Öztürk||Gülfem Hatun||Sultan Süleyman's first concubine, Hatice Sultan's confidant||1–4|
|Tolga Tekin||Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha||An admiral of the Ottoman Empire as a Commander in Chief of the Navy and the first captain pasha, Mustafa's supporter,Mihrünissa′s father||3–4|
|Mehmet Özgür||Lütfi Pasha||Şah Sultan's husband and later Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire after the death of Ayas Pasha,Esmehan′s father||3|
|Yetkin Dikinciler||Kara Ahmed Pasha||Fatma Sultan's husband and later Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire||4|
|Pınar Çağlar Gençtürk||Beyhan Sultan||Sultan Süleyman's sister, Ferhad Pasha's wife||1–3|
|Sabina Toziya||Afife Hatun||Haznedar, leading servant in the harem||3–4|
|Fehmi Karaarslan||Ayas Pasha||The vizier for the council, later the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire after the execution of Ibrahim Pasha||1–3|
|Arif Erkin Güzelbeyoğlu||Piri Mehmed Pasha||Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire before Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha||1–2|
|Murat Şahan||Mustafa Pasha||Chief Commander of the Navy before Barbaros, later the vizier of the council||1–3|
|Burcu Özberk||Huricihan Sultan||Hatice Sultan's and Ibrahim Pasha's daughter and in love with Bayezid||4|
|Yasemin Allen||Defne Sultan||Şehzade Bayezid's wife||4|
|Ecem Çalık||Esmehan Sultan||Şah Sultan's and Lütfi Pasha's daughter, Sehzade Mehmet′s wife||3|
|Fatih Al||Matrakçı Nasuh||Mathematician, historian, geographer, miniaturist, and inventor and Ibrahim's confidant||1–4|
|Almeda Abazi||Nazenin Hatun (Valeria)||Sultan Süleyman's concubine, Raziye Sultan's mother, Nurbanu Sultan's former servant||4|
|Elif Atakan||Rümeysa Sultan||Şehzade Mustafa's wife and mother of his son||3–4|
|Serenay Aktaş||Ayşe Sultan||Şehzade Mustafa's concubine and mother of his daughter||3|
|Cansu Dere||Firuze Hatun (Hümeyra)||Princess in the Harem, in love with Süleyman||3|
|Melike İpek Yalova||Isabella Fortuna||Princess of Castille, in love with Süleyman||2|
|Efe Mehmet Güneş||Sultanzade Osman||Hatice Sultan's and Ibrahim Pasha's son||3|
|Hasan Küçükçetin||Iskender Çelebi||Ottoman finance minister renowned for his wealth, an enemy of Ibrahim Pasha||2–3|
|Gökhan Çelebi||Ferhad Pasha||Beyhan Sultan's husband||1|
|Ezgi Eyüboğlu||Aybige Hatun||Valide Sultan's niece, Crimean Princess, in love with Bali Bey||2
|Alp Öyken||Pope Clement VII||Pope of the Roman Catholic Church during that time||1–2|
|Sema Keçik||Daye Hatun||Valide Sultan's maid||1–2|
|Nihan Büyükağaç||Gülşah Hatun||Mahidevran Sultan's maid, later Hürrem Sultan's maid||1–3|
|Burcü Güner||Fahriye Kalfa (Diana)||Mahidevran Sultan's maid, later Hürrem Sultan's maid||3–4|
|Saadet Aksoy||Victoria (Sadıka Hatun)||A Hungarian countess. An enemy of Sultan Süleyman||1–2|
|Saygın Soysal||Mercan Ağa||Şah Sultan's confidant||3|
|Engin Günaydın||Gül Ağa||Confidant of Hürrem Sultan||2|
|Yüksel Ünal||Şeker Ağa||Main chef of the palace kitchen||1–4|
|Gürkan Uygun||Mimar Sinan||Chief architect of Sultan Süleyman||3–4|
|Yıldırım Fikret Urağ||Sokollu Mehmed Pasha||Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire||4|
|Dolunay Soysert||Gracia Mendes Nasi||A wealthy Jewish woman who became a prominent figure in the politics of the Ottoman Empire||4|
|Burcu Tuna||Gülnihal Hatun (Maria)||Hürrem Sultan's childhood friend||1|
|Melisa Sozen||Efsun Hatun (Nora)||Hürrem Sultan's servant, in love with Şehzade Mustafa||2|
|Seçkin Özdemir||Leo||Hürrem Sultan's former fiancé||1|
|Gamze Dar||Fidan Hatun||Mahidevran Sultan's maid||2-4|
|Müjde Uzman||Armin Hatun||Bali Bey's first love, Joşua Effendi's daughter||2|
|Bergüzar Korel||Monica Gritti||Senior Gritti's sister||1|
|Pakistan||Geo Kahani||May 10, 2013||21:00|
|Arab League||Orbit Showtime Network||December 13, 2011|
|Albania||Albanian Screen||December 2011||20:00|
|Azerbaijan||Lider TV||December 2011||20:10|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Televizija OBN||August 22, 2012||20:00|
|Bulgaria||TV7||September 7, 2012||20:30|
|Croatia||RTL Televizija||August 22, 2012||19:00|
|Czech Republic||TV Barrandov||December 17, 2011||20:00|
|Egypt||Al Hayat TV||November 2011|
|Estonia||Kanal 2||September 1, 2013||19:35 or 20:35|
|France||France 2||September 2012||20:00|
|Greece||ANT1||August 28, 2012 (Season 1, 2 3a)
Οctober 21, 2013 (Season 3b)
June 10, 2014 (Season 4)
|21:30 (Season 1,2,3)
22:15 (Season 4)
|Georgia||Maestro TV||September 2013||21:45|
|Hungary||RTL Klub||January 4, 2013||21:30|
|Iran||GEM TV||September 2012||22:00|
|Iraq||Orbit Showtime Network||November 2011|
|Israel||Israel Plus||December 2013||18:05|
|Italy||Babel TV||June 2013|
|Kazakhstan||KTK||March 15, 2012|
|Kyrgyzstan||KTRK||March 15, 2012|
|Kuwait||OSN Ya Hala||November 2011|
|Lithuania||LNK||September 7, 2013||15:00|
|Macedonia||Kanal 5||December 12, 2011||21:00|
|Morocco||Medi 1 TV||December 2011|
October 11, 2013
|North Cyprus||Star TV||January 1, 2011||20:00|
|Poland||TVP1||October 6, 2014||15.45|
|Romania||Kanal D Romania||September 5, 2012||20:00|
|Russia||Domashny||January 9, 2012||21:00|
|Saudi Arabia||November 2011|
|February 9, 2012
September 1, 2013
December 17, 2013
September 19, 2014
|Slovakia||TV Doma||December 15, 2011||20:30|
|Slovenia||Planet TV||March 5, 2013||17:45|
|Spain||1+1||July 7, 2014||21:32|
|Tunisia||Nessma TV||April 2013||20:45|
|Turkey||Star TV||January 1, 2011||20:00|
|UAE||Dubai TV||November 2011|
|Ukraine||1+1||October 3, 2012||17:15|
|USA||MundoFox||July 1, 2014||20:00|
The show generated controversy and complaints from some viewers, for what they referred to as a "disrespectful", "indecent" and "hedonistic" portrayal of the historical sultan. Turkey's Radio and Television Supreme Council, known as RTÜK, claimed they had received over 70,000 complaints about the show and warned Show TV to publicly apologise for wrongly exposing "the privacy of a historical person". The Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned the show as "an effort to show our history in a negative light to the younger generations." An MP for the governing Justice and Development Party, Oktay Saral, went further, threatening to outlaw the “misrepresentation of historical figures” in shows such as Muhteşem Yüzyıl. Small groups of Islamists and Nationalists protested the studio but the show remains successful with consistently high ratings.
"On the surface, 'Magnificent Century' looks like a quintessential product of the Erdoğan years. Thanks to Erdoğan's economic policies, Turkey has a thriving television industry, capable of staging elaborate period dramas, and a prosperous family-oriented middle class of observant Muslims eager to watch their own values reflected in a historical imperial setting. And, much as Erdoğan's foreign policy has promoted relations with former Ottoman lands, the show has conquered large audiences in Balkan, Caucasian, and Arab countries not known for their fond memory of Ottoman rule. Broadcast to more than two hundred million viewers in fifty-two countries, "Magnificent Century" has accomplished one of Erdoğan's main goals: Making a powerful, non-secularist, globally involved version of Turkey both plausible and appealing.... And yet Erdoğan is not a fan. In late 2012, at the opening of a provincial airport he took a moment to condemn the show's depiction of Suleyman, as well as its directors and broadcasters, hinting at severe judicial repercussions."
Muhteşem Yüzyıl is reported to have an international audience of 200 million viewers.
A Nielsen Media Research market study found out that it is the most watched TV show in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2013 and the fourth most successful show in Serbia. The show is part of an ongoing revival of Turkish culture in the Balkans through imported TV shows from Turkey, such as Öyle Bir Geçer Zaman Ki ("As time goes by", number one TV show in Macedonia), or Fatmagül'ün Suçu Ne? ("What is Fatmagül's fault"), which was top ranked TV show in Kosovo 2012. Serbian sociologist Ratko Bozovic explains the popularity by pointing at the traditional, patriarchal values of the Turkish shows, and the many cultural and linguistic similarities between Turkey and the Balkan countries: “The mentality depicted in those shows has to do with a traditional understanding of morality that people in Serbia remember at some level" According to him all Balkan countries have seen dramatic changes in terms of family life, and the Turkish shows help them recall value systems that now seem lost.
In Pakistan, the show is called Mera Sultan (meaning "My Emperor") airing on Geo Kahani. Geo Kahani claims that it is the channel's most popular and continues to receive highest ratings, along with other Turkish series like Aşk-ı Memnu and Fatmagül'ün Suçu Ne?. Although many people did not appreciate the new Hürrem, the show is still popular in Pakistan.
In Greece, the series has become quite popular. It has become so popular that Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki and the Golden Dawn party condemned the show and urged Greeks not to watch it. "No one should watch Muhteşem Yüzyıl, The Magnificent Century," Anthimos said. He added, "By watching the Turkish series we are telling them we have surrendered."
In Republic of Macedonia, Turkish series have become so popular, that the Macedonian parliament has moved to ban Turkish soaps to reduce the Turkish impact on Macedonian society. Turkish series will gradually be removed and replaced by national programs, according to a 2012 bill.
- "Turkish scriptwriter, actress Meral Okay passes away". Zaman (newspaper). 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2012-04-15.
- Fowler, Suzanne (2011-03-20). "Magnificent Century divides Turkish TV viewers over the life of Suleiman". The Observer. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
- "Muhtesem Yuzyil "Magnificent Century" takes Turkey by storm". Istanbul View. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
- Moore, Robbie. "Soap Opera Diplomacy: Turkish TV in Greece". The International. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- Batuman, Elif (Feb. 17 & 24). "Ottomania: A Hit TV Show Reimagines Turkey's Imperial Past". The New Yorker. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- Rohde, David. "In Turkey, Erdogan disrespects dissent". Reuters. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "Turks bewitch the Balkans with their addictive soaps". Balkan Insights. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
- Greeks tune in to Turkish soap opera, despite critics views, Southeast European Times (SETimes.com), Andy Dabilis and Erisa Dautaj, 10/10/2012
- Soap Opera Diplomacy: Turkish TV in Greece, The International, 12.02.2013
- Greek metropolitan bishop warns against Turkish series, Hürriyet Daily News, 18.09.2012
- Macedonia bans Turkish soap operas, Hürriyet Daily News, 14.11.2012