Gülfem Hatun

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Gülfem Hatun
Born c. 1497
Died 1561-1562
Istanbul, the Ottoman Empire
Resting place Gülfem Hatun Mosque, Istanbul
Residence Istanbul
Ethnicity Undetermined
Religion Islam
Spouse(s) Suleiman the Magnificent
Children Şehzade Murad

Gülfem (Gûlfâm) Hatun (Ottoman Turkish: گلفام خاتون‎, c. 1497 - c. 1561-62, Gülfem, Gûlfâm meaning "like rose") was a wife[1] of Suleiman the Magnificent and the mother of Şehzade Murad.


Her origin is undetermined. The Ottoman inscription (vakfiye) describes her as Hātun binti Abdllah (Daughter of Abdullah) but on her tomb in Üsküdar she is described as Hātun binti Abdurrahman (Daughter of Abdurrahman) which means that her father was possibly a Christian who converted to Islam.[2][3][4] There are several theories:

  • Some claim that she was Sicilian or Polish and originally named Rosalina (thus referred to as Sicilyalı Rosalina or Polonyalı Rozalina).[5][6][7]
  • Yılmaz Öztuna, an Ottoman historian, writes that she was the daughter of a prince named Murad and was married to Sultan Suleiman in 1511 but gives no original name.[8]
  • According to Leslie P. Peirce, Gülfem was a harem stewardess, and during Suleiman's reign she was receiving 150 aspers a day.

She gave birth to a son, Şehzade Murad in 1519 but in October 1521 he died because of smallpox.

Gülfem Hatun Mosque[edit]

In 1543 Gülfem, established the financial ground work to built a "timber frame mosque"[9] now known as "Gülfem Hatun Mosque" in Gülfem Hatun Neighborhood, Üsküdar district, Istanbul province built in second half of 16th century. Its construction was completed after her death in 1561 or 1562 and was buried here. There are madrassa, tomb and Ottoman elementary-primary school next to Gülfem Hatun Mosque. This complex or külliye burned out in a fire in 1850, together with the whole neighborhood. Nine years after this fire the mosque and Ottoman elementary-primary school was restored by the public in 1868-69. But the madrassa and the tomb were not restored. So sepulcher of Gülfem Hatun was pulled down and only her tomb reached our day. It was intended for the use of women and opened to men only in recent times.

Legend about Gülfem Hatun's death[edit]

According to a legend, Gülfem desired to build a mosque in Üsküdar, however she did not have enough money to complete the mosque and she took a loan from a few other women in the harem. Many of the concubines refused this because they were jealous of her being close to the sultan, only one woman who took advantage of her weakness said that she would give her the money if she allowed to go to the Sultan herself, instead of Gülfem. Gülfem accepted her offer and allowed her to go to the sultan instead. This angered Suleiman and ordered his guards Gülfem Hatun had to be executed, when it was her turn to share his bed and she failed to turn up. The next morning the dead body of a woman, Gülfem Hatun left the palace. Afterwards he completed construction of the mosque which she had begun.[10][11]

Depictions in literature and popular culture[edit]

In the 2003 TV miniseries, Hürrem Sultan, Gülfem was played by Turkish actress Yasemin Kozanoğlu. In the 2011 TV series Muhteşem Yüzyıl, Gülfem Hatun is played by Turkish actress Selen Öztürk.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Ghada Hashem Talhami (2013). Historical Dictionary of Women in the Middle East and North Africa. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 279. ISBN 978-0-810-86858-8. 
  2. ^ Papers: Uskudar Symposium II: 23 - 25 May 2003. Üsküdar Municipality. 2004. 
  3. ^ Osmanlı para vakıfları: Kanûnı̂ dönemi Üsküdar örneği. Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi. 2003. ISBN 978-9-751-61538-1. 
  4. ^ Yüzyıllar boyunca Üsküdar, Volume 1. Üsküdar Belediyesi. 2001. 
  5. ^ Padişah anaları: resimli belgesel tarih romanı. Öz Yayınları. 1977. 
  6. ^ Üsküdar Sempozyumu IV, 3-5 Kasım 2006: Bildiriler. Üsküdar Belediyesi. 2007. ISBN 978-9-944-58073-1. 
  7. ^ Türk sinema tarihi. İnkılâp. 2008. ISBN 978-9-751-02958-4. 
  8. ^ Kanûnı̂ Sultan Süleyman. T.C. Kültür Bakanlıǧı Kütüphane Basımevi. 1989. ISBN 978-9-751-70374-3. 
  9. ^ Helen Ostovich, Mary V. Silcox, Graham Roebuck, The Mysterious and the Foreign in Early Modern England, pg.65
  10. ^ Pars Tuğlacı, Türkiyeʼde kadın, Volume 3
  11. ^ http://tune.pk/video/2588340/the-tragic-death-of-gulfem-hatun