Olivera Despina

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Mileva Olivera Lazarević
Princess of Serbia
Tsar Lazar and his family.jpg
Bornc. 1372
Kruševac, Moravian Serbia
Diedc. 1445 (aged 72–73)
SpouseBayezid I
FatherLazar Hrebeljanović of Serbia
MotherMilica Nemanjić

Mileva Olivera Lazarević, Despina Hatun (Serbian Cyrillic: Деспина Оливера Лазаревић; 1372 – after 1444) was a Serbian princess. She was the youngest daughter of Lazar of Serbia and Princess Milica and the wife of Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, whom she married just after the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, as a pledge of peace between the Lazarević and Ottoman dynasties. After the marriage, she became Despina Hatun (Turkish for "Lady Despina").


Olivera Despina Hatun was born around 1372, the youngest daughter of Prince Lazar and Princess Milica of Serbia. Her mother was a descendant of Grand Prince (Veliki župan) Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the Nemanjić dynasty and the fourth cousin once removed of Emperor Dušan of Serbia. Olivera had four older sisters, Mara (mother of Serbian despot Đurađ Branković), Dragana, Teodora, and Jelena (mother of Balša III, the last ruler of Zeta) and two brothers, Serbian despot Stefan Lazarević and Vuk.

After the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, Olivera was sent to the harem of Sultan Bayezid I, where she remained for the next 12 years and became one of the sultan's four wives (in addition to his concubines). Despite her marriage, she apparently never converted to Islam. She had a great influence on the sultan, which helped her people, country, and family survive the turbulent times.

In the Battle of Ankara on 20 July 1402, Olivera and Bayezid were captured by Timur. Olivera was widowed in 1403.

After her release, she spent the rest of her life in the court of her brother Stefan in Belgrade or in the court of her sister Jelena in Herceg Novi. There she became a patron of Art and Literature.

Olivera died sometime after 1444.

See also[edit]


  • Ćirković, Sima (2004). The Serbs. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Princess Olivera, a forgotten Serbian Heroine, Princess Olivera Foundation, Belgrade 2009 (ISBN 978-86-912875-2-8)

External links[edit]