From a base in Bursa the first Ottoman sultans rapidly reached out to snatch most of the territory around Constantinople in the 14th century. Then in the 15th century concerted efforts to conquer the city from their second capital in Adrianople (Edirne) in Thrace culminated in the great prize of the Conquest in 1453. The city immediately became the new capital of the expanding empire.

It’s not without reason that Sultan Süleyman I is known as “the Magnificent” to Westerners since it was during his long reign that the Ottoman Empire reached its apogee both in terms of territory and in art and culture. By the time Süleyman died, his writ ran through most of the Balkans, the Middle East and parts of North Africa.

The Ottomans continued to be a force to reckoned with right through until the late 17th century, despite a major setback in 1571 at the Battle of Lepanto which put an end to their naval supremacy.

From then on, however, the Empire went into a long period of decline brought on in large part by the failure to establish a clear system of inheritance that would have prevented the massacres and in-fighting that inevitably followed the death of each ruler. By 1923 when the sultanate was finally abolished the great power of the Ottomans had long since crumbled to dust, with the Empire dubbed “the Sick Man of Europe”.


Mehmed II (1451-81) – the Conqueror

Beyazıd II (1481-1512) - Thunder

Selim I (1512-20) – the Grim

Süleyman I (1520-66) – the Magnificent

Selim II (1566-74) – the Sot

Murad III (1574-95)

Mehmed III (1595-1603)

Ahmed I (1603-1618)

Mustafa I (1617-18)

Osman II (1618-22) – Young Osman

Mustafa I restored (1622-23)

Murad IV (1623-40)

İbrahim (1640-48) – the Mad

Mehmed IV (1648-87) – the Hunter

Süleyman II (1687-91)

Ahmed II (1691-95)

Mustafa II (1695-1703)

Ahmed III (1703-30)

Mahmud I (1730-54)

Osman III (1754-57)

Mustafa III (1757-89)

Abdülhamid I (1774=89)

Selim III (1789-1807)

Mustafa IV (1807-08)

Mahmud II (1808-39)

Abdülmecid I (1839-61)

Abdülaziz (1861-76)

Murad V (1876)

Abdülhamid II (1876-1909)

Mehmed V (1909-18) – Reşad

Mehmed VI (1918-22) – Vahdeddin

Abdülmecid Efendi (1922-24) – caliph only

Read about some of Turkey's finest early Ottoman monuments: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-273873-ten-of-turkeys-best-ottoman-monuments----the-early-years.html

Read about some of Turkey's best late Ottoman monuments: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-274582-ten-of-turkeys-best-ottoman-monuments----the-declining-years.html

Read about some of İstanbul's most important Ottoman monumentshttp://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail.action;jsessionid=sSZ8RzMj8-6Ptfphd+lDXkU-?newsId=343798&columnistId=0

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