Aleksandra "Roxelana" Sultan, Hürrem Haseki Sultan

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Aleksandra "Roxelana" Sultan (Lisowska), Hürrem Haseki Sultan

Russian: Aleksandra "Roxelana" Султана (Лисовска), Hürrem Haseki Sultan, Lithuanian: Anastazija Hiurem Sultan (Roksolana) Lisovska, Haseki Sultan, Polish: Roksolana Sultan (Lisowska), Hürrem Haseki Sultan
Also Known As: "Roksalan", "Александра Лисовска", "Анастасия Лисовска", "Анастася (Настя) Лисовска", "Хурем султана", "Hürrem", "Роксолана", "Рушен", "Roksolana"
Birthplace: Рогатин, Poland
Death: April 18, 1558 (51-52)
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
Place of Burial: Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Havrylo Lisowski and Leksandra Lisowska
Wife of Suleiman the Magnificent
Mother of Şehzade Mehmed; Mihrimah Sultan; Şehzade Abdullah; Selim II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire; Şehzade Bayezid and 2 others

Occupation: валиде ханъм; хасеки
Managed by: Henn Sarv
Last Updated:

About Aleksandra "Roxelana" Sultan, Hürrem Haseki Sultan

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hürrem Sultan (Turkish pronunciation: [hy%C9%BE%CB%88%C9%BEem suɫˈtaːn], Ottoman Turkish: خرم سلطان; c. 1502 – 15 April 1558; fully: Devletlu İsmetlu Hürrem Haseki Sultan Aliyyetü'ş-Şân Hazretleri; birthname unknown, according to later traditions either Anastasia Lisowska, or Aleksandra Lisowska,[5] also known as La Rossa or Roxelana) was the favorite consort and later the legal wife of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and the mother of Şehzade Mehmed, Mihrimah Sultan, Şehzade Abdullah, Sultan Selim II, Şehzade Bayezid and Şehzade Cihangir.[6] She was one of the most powerful and influential women in Ottoman history and a prominent figure during the era known as the Sultanate of Women. She was "Haseki Sultan" (chief wife of the Sultan) when her husband, Suleiman I, reigned as Ottoman sultan. She achieved power and influenced the politics of the Ottoman Empire through her husband and played an active role in state affairs of the Empire.[7]


  • 1 Names
  • 2 Early life
  • 3 Life with the Sultan
  • 4 Charities
  • 5 Death
  • 6 Legacy


She was known mainly as Haseki Hürrem Sultan or Hürrem Haseki Sultan; also known as Roxolena, Roxolana, Roxelane, Rossa, Ružica; in Turkish as Hürrem (from Persian: خرم‎ Khurram, "the cheerful one"); and in Arabic as Karima (Arabic: كريمة‎, "the noble one"). "Roxelana" might be not a proper name but a nickname, referring to her Ukrainian heritage (cf. the common contemporary name "Ruslana"); "Roxolany" or "Roxelany" was one of the names of Ukrainians, up to the 15th century, after the ancient Roxolani. Thus her nickname would literally mean "The Ruthenian One".[8]

Early Life

Modern sources do not contain information on Roxelana's childhood, limiting themselves to information about her Polish, Rusyn, or Ukrainian ethnic origin, and mentioning the Kingdom of Poland as her birthplace. In the middle of the 16th century, the ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the Crimean khanate Mikhalon Lytvyn in the composition of 1548–1551 "About customs of Tatars, Lithuanians and Moscow" (Latin: De moribus tartarorum, lituanorum et moscorum) at the description of trade specifies that "[...] the most beloved wife of the present Turkish emperor - mother of his primogenital [son] who will govern after him, was kidnapped from our land".[9]

According to late 16th-century and early 17th-century sources, such as the Polish poet Samuel Twardowski (died 1661), who researched the subject in Turkey, Hürrem was seemingly born to a father who was a Ukrainian Orthodox priest.[10][11][12] She was born in the town of Rohatyń, 68 km southeast of Lviv, a major city of the Ruthenian Voivodeship in the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland (today in Western Ukraine).[12] In the 1520s Crimean Tatars captured her during one of their frequent raids into this region, took her as a slave (probably first to the Crimean city of Kaffa, a major centre of the slave trade, then to Constantinople) and selected her for Suleiman's harem.[10][12]

Life with the Sultan

She quickly came to the attention of her master, and attracted the jealousy of her rivals. She soon proved to be Suleiman’s favorite consort or Haseki Sultan. Hürrem’s influence over the Sultan soon became legendary. She was to bear the majority of Suleiman's children and in an astonishing break with tradition, she was eventually freed. Breaking with two centuries of Ottoman tradition,[13] a former concubine had thus become the legal wife of the Sultan, much to the astonishment of observers in the palace and the city.[14] It made Suleiman the first Ottoman emperor to have a wed wife since Orhan Gazi and strengthened Hürrem's position in the palace and eventually led to one of her sons, Selim, inheriting the empire.

In the Istanbul harem, Hürrem Sultan was a very influential rival for Mahidevran Sultan. Hürrem gave birth to her first son Mehmed in 1521 (who died in 1543) and then four more sons, destroying Mahidevran’s status of being the mother of the sultan’s only son.[15] The rivalry between the two women was partially suppressed by Ayşe Hafsa Sultan, Suleiman’s mother,[16] but after her death in 1534, as a result of the bitter rivalry a fight between the two women broke out, with Mahidevran beating Hürrem. This angered Suleiman, who subsequently sent Mahidevran to live with her son, Şehzade Mustafa, in the provincial capital of Manisa. This exile was shown officially as the traditional training of heir apparents, Sanjak Beyliği.

Hürrem and Mahidevran had borne Suleiman many sons, four of whom survived past the 1550s. They were Mustafa, Selim, Bayezid, and Cihangir. Of these, Mustafa was the eldest and preceded Hürrem's children in the order of succession. Hürrem was aware that should Mustafa become Sultan her own children would be strangled. Yet Mustafa was recognized as the most talented of all the brothers and was supported by Pargalı İbrahim Pasha, who was by this time Suleiman's Grand Vizier. It has also been suggested by a number of sources that Ibrahim Pasha had been a victim of Hürrem Sultan's intrigues and rising influence on the sovereign, especially in view of Ibrahim's past support for the cause of Şehzade Mustafa. Hürrem is usually held at least partly responsible for the intrigues in nominating a successor. Although she was Suleiman's wife, she exercised no official public role. This did not, however, prevent Hürrem from wielding powerful political influence. Since the Empire lacked, until the reign of Ahmed I, any formal means of nominating a successor, successions usually involved the death of competing princes in order to avert civil unrest and rebellions. In attempting to avoid the execution of her sons, Hürrem used her influence to eliminate those who supported Mustafa's accession to the throne.[17]

Thus in power struggles apparently instigated by Hürrem,[18] Suleiman had Ibrahim murdered and replaced with her sympathetic son-in-law, Rüstem Pasha. Many years later, towards the end of Suleiman’s long reign, the rivalry between his sons became evident. Furthermore, both Hürrem Sultan and the grand vizier Rüstem Pasha turned him against Mustafa and Mustafa was accused of causing unrest. During the campaign against Safavid Persia in 1553, because of a fear of rebellion, Sultan Suleiman ordered the execution of Mustafa.[19] According to a source he was executed that very year on charges of planning to dethrone his father; his guilt for the treason of which he was accused has since been neither proven nor disproven.[20] After the death of Mustafa, Mahidevran lost her state in the palace (as being the mother of the heir apparent) and moved to Bursa and lived a troubled life.[15] Her last years, however, were not in poverty, for Selim II, the new sultan after 1566 as well as her stepson, put her on a salary.[20] Her rehabilitation may have been possible only after the death of Hürrem in 1558.[20] Cihangir, Hürrem's youngest child, is said to have died of grief a few months after the news of his half-brother's murder.[21]

After Suleiman executed Mustafa in October 1553, there appeared some sort of dissatisfaction and unrest among soldiers who blamed Rüstem Pasha for Mustfa's death. Then Suleiman dimissed Rüstem Pasha and appointed Kara Ahmed Pasha as his grand vizier in October 1553. But almost two years later, Kara Ahmed Pasha became the victim of vicious calumnies brought against him by Hürrem Sultan who wanted her son-in-law, Rüstem Pasha, to become the grand vizier again. Kara Ahmed Pasha was strangled in September 1555, and Rüstem Pasha became the grand vizier once more.

Suleiman also allowed Hürrem Sultan to remain with him at court for the rest of her life, breaking another tradition—that when imperial heirs came of age, they would be sent along with the imperial concubine who bore them to govern remote provinces of the Empire; the concubines were never to return unless their progeny succeeded to the throne (Sanjak Beyliği).[22] Hürrem also acted as Suleiman’s advisor on matters of state, and seems to have had an influence upon foreign affairs and international politics.[7] Two of her letters to King Sigismund II Augustus of Poland have been preserved, and during her lifetime, the Ottoman Empire generally had peaceful relations with the Polish state within a Polish–Ottoman alliance.

Under his pen name, Muhibbi, Sultan Suleiman composed this poem for Hürrem Sultan:

"Throne of my lonely niche, my wealth, my love, my moonlight.

My most sincere friend, my confidant, my very existence, my Sultan, my one and only love.

The most beautiful among the beautiful...

My springtime, my merry faced love, my daytime, my sweetheart, laughing leaf...

My plants, my sweet, my rose, the one only who does not distress me in this world...

My Constantinople, my Caraman, the earth of my Anatolia

My Badakhshan, my Baghdad and Khorasan

My woman of the beautiful hair, my love of the slanted brow, my love of eyes full of mischief...

I'll sing your praises always

I, lover of the tormented heart, Muhibbi of the eyes full of tears, I am happy."[23]


Aside from her political concerns, Hürrem engaged in several major works of public buildings, from Mecca to Jerusalem, perhaps modeling her charitable foundations in part after the caliph Harun al-Rashid’s consort Zubaida. Among her first foundations were a mosque, two Koranic schools (madrassa), a fountain, and a women's hospital near the women's slave market (Avret Pazary) in Constantinople. She commissioned a bath, the Haseki Hürrem Sultan Hamamı, to serve the community of worshippers in the nearby Hagia Sophia. In Jerusalem she established in 1552 the Haseki Sultan Imaret, a public soup kitchen to feed the poor and the needy.

Some of her embroidery, or at least that done under her supervision, has also survived, examples being given in 1547 to Tahmasp I, the Shah of Iran, and in 1549 to King Sigismund II Augustus.

Esther Handali acted as her secretary and intermediary on several occasions.


Hürrem Sultan died on 15 April 1558 and was buried in a domed mausoleum (türbe) decorated in exquisite Iznik tiles depicting the garden of paradise, perhaps in homage to her smiling and joyful nature.[24] Her mausoleum is adjacent to Suleiman’s, a separate and more somber domed structure, at the Süleymaniye Mosque.


Hürrem Haseki Sultan, or Roxelana, is well-known both in modern Turkey and in the West, and is the subject of many artistic works. In 1561, three years after Hürrem's death, the French author Gabriel Bounin wrote a tragedy titled La Soltane about the role of Hürrem Sultan in Mustafa's death.[25] This tragedy marks the first time the Ottomans were introduced on stage in France.[26] She has inspired paintings, musical works (including Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 63), an opera by Denys Sichynsky, a ballet, plays, and several novels written mainly in Ukrainian, but also in English, French, and German.

In early modern Spain, she appears or is alluded to in works by Quevedo and other writers as well as in a number of plays by Lope de Vega. In a play entitled The Holy League, Titian appears on stage at the Venetian Senate, and stating that he has just come from visiting the Sultan, displays his painting of Sultana Rossa or Roxelana.[27]

In 2007, Muslims in Mariupol, a port city in Ukraine, opened a mosque to honor Roxelana.[28]

In the 2003 TV miniseries, Hürrem Sultan, she was played by Turkish actress and singer Gülben Ergen. In the 2011-2014 TV series Muhteşem Yüzyıl, Hürrem Sultan is portrayed by Turkish-German actress Meryem Uzerli and at the series last season she is portrayed by Turkish actress Vahide Perçin.

О Aleksandra "Roxelana" Султана, Hürrem Haseki Sultan (русский)

Александра или Анастася (Настя) Лисовска ( 1510 - 18 април 1558) е съпруга на султан Сюлейман Великолепни, управлявал Османската империя, известна с турското си име Хурем (на турски: Hürrem - Веселата), но също така и с имената Роксолана и Рушен (Сияеща). Родена е, в градчето Рогатин (по онова време Полша), днешна Украйна, в семейството на православен свещеник. През 1520 г. е пленена и отведена в Истанбул като робиня, но по-късно е избрана за султанския Харем. Там тя успява да се превърне в любимата куртизанка на султан Сюлейман Великолепни. Дарява го с пет деца, едно от които е Селим, наследил империята. Хурем е била активен съветник на султана в държавните афери и международната политика. Наред с това, Хурем е първата жена ангажирала се с изграждането на няколко значителни публични сгради, от Мека и Йерусалим и първата направила дарение за построяването на джамия в Истанбул.

Погребана е заедно със своя съпруг в тюрбе намиращо се край Сюлеймановата джамия в Истанбул.

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Aleksandra "Roxelana" Sultan, Hürrem Haseki Sultan's Timeline

Age 6
Рогатин, Poland
Age 15
Istanbul, Turkey
March 21, 1522
Age 16
Istanbul, Turkey
Age 17
Istanbul, İstanbul, Turkey
May 28, 1524
Age 18
Istanbul, İstanbul, Turkey
Age 19
Istanbul, İstanbul, Turkey
December 9, 1531
Age 25
Istanbul, Turkey
Age 25