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Not Nastia and not exceptionally beautiful: three secrets of the legendary Roxelana, which she took with her to the grave. Photo

Maryna PohorilkoNews
Historians share facts about Roxelana that few knew

History has not preserved the real name of the famous Roxelana (Hurrem Sultan), even though in Ukraine she was called Nastia Lisovska, and some even Oleksandra. There is also no reliable image of this woman, but given her alleged portraits, there is no doubt that she was of extraordinary beauty.

Despite this, Roxelana became the first wife of the sultan to be buried in her mausoleum. OBOZ.UA has collected interesting facts about the woman who is still revered by Turks and whom Ukrainians are proud of.

1. What's wrong with the name

Historians have not agreed on the woman's real name. No one denies the fact that the sultan called her Hurrem, which means "smiling" or "cheerful." European ambassadors called the captive Roxelana. But what she was called in Ukraine remains a mystery.

There is a version that she was the kidnapped daughter of a priest from the city of Rohatyn, Ivano-Frankivsk region, Anastasia Lisovska. However, there is no documentary evidence of this.

According to another theory, she was an illegitimate child from the family of Polish kings. It can be confirmed by the fact that the Tatars treated the captive with great respect, probably realizing the value of the girl.

Oleksandra Shutko, a PhD in art history and author of several research papers on Roxelana, also claims that the real name of this sultana is unknown, as is the year of her birth. However, according to some versions, Roxelana was born in the second half of 1505 or the first half of 1506 and was 11 years younger than Sultan Suleiman.

2. Did her extraordinary beauty conquer the sultan?

Roxelana's contemporaries described her as a woman of ordinary appearance who was not particularly attractive. For example, the Venetian ambassador described her as short, thin, and ugly, but at the same time, the diplomat noted her good manners and a subtle mind.

Contemporaries noted that it was not her appearance that could conquer the Sultan, but her extraordinary intelligence and cheerful disposition. After all, when other concubines were in tears, she laughed to spite everyone, and when Suleiman offered a gift after the night, Roxelana asked for access to the library rather than jewelry.

Not Nastia and not exceptionally beautiful: three secrets of the legendary Roxelana, which she took with her to the grave. Photo

Shutko notes that there is not a single authentic image of Roxelana. After all, Islamic norms forbade drawing from life. All the existing portraits of the woman are very different, although they share several common features: red hair, white skin, a sharp chin, bright eyes, and an elongated nose with a bump. And it's impossible to say that Roxelana was an incredible beauty based on them.

Not Nastia and not exceptionally beautiful: three secrets of the legendary Roxelana, which she took with her to the grave. Photo

3. Difficult life and lung cancer

Despite the conventional wisdom about Roxelana's successful and colorful life, she experienced many difficulties. The loss of her parents, captivity, being in a harem, fighting for her own children, and then their deaths seriously undermined her health. She died at the age of 50 from lung cancer.

According to another version, Roxelana was poisoned. This was allegedly attempted many times. During her lifetime, several tasters of her food died from the poison.

The sultan ordered a rose garden to be planted around her grave, and a year later, he built a luxurious tomb. Roxelana became the first wife of the sultan to be buried in her own mausoleum.

As OBOZ.UA reported earlier, the actors of the Turkish TV series The Magnificent Century became stars, and their lives were followed by armies of fans. The main character Gürem Sultan, played by Meryem Üzerli, has 7 million followers on Instagram, and Sultan Suleyman, played by Halit Ergenç, has 1 million followers.

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