Pertevniyal High School, Since 1872

About Project

Pertevniyal High School

Topkapı Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace

Queen Pertevniyal

Queen Pertevniyal or Queen Mother Pertevniyal (1810 - 26 January 1886) was the wife of Sultan Mahmud II (reign 1808 -1839) and the mother of Sultan Abdülaziz (reign 1861 - 1876). The origin of Queen Pertevniyal is disputed. She was either a Romanian or a Circassian.

Valide Sultan (Queen Mother) was the title carried by the mother of the sultan whose son ruled the Ottoman Empire. Of thirty-six Ottoman Sultans’ mothers, only twenty-two of them had the title of “Valide Sultan”. The first woman given the title of valide sultan was Ayşe Hafsa Sultan, a Crimean Tatar and the mother of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. She accompanied her son when he was appointed governor of Manisa at the age of 17 (1503) and on his succession to the throne in 1520 she took charge of some duties in Topkapı Palace. She was probably the first valide sultan to have had built a large complex consisting of a mosque, a primary school, a college and a hospice in Manisa. In doing so, she set the tradition for the charitable works of future queen mothers.


In addition to their endeavours in the palace, Queen Mothers also had public build­ings built for charity in a number of cities across the Ottoman empire. Even today, you can spot the work of a Queen Mother in almost every corner of Istanbul. Thou­sands of buildings constructed by the foundations of the Queen Mothers  are still worth visiting.


It is remark­able that 1,400 of the nearly 26,000 identified foundations established during the reign of the empire were established by women. The Queen Mothers as well as the daugh­ters of the sultans, the princess­es, utilised their salaries and in­come to build public structures such as various hos­pitals, social complexes, hospices, fountains, libraries, clinics, bridg­es, schools and mosques within the em­pire. These structures changed the social nature of the communities at the time of their construction.

Pertevniyal Valide Sultan, who showed her generosity and mercy through her foundation, was one of the most prominent Queen Mothers. She did not hesitate to spend her wealth to good of the state and the public.

Pertevniyal Valide Sultan was very powerful and influential during her 15 years as queen mother to Sultan Abdülaziz. She had the opportunity to build philanthropic structures along her son, the most important of which was her complex in Aksaray.

The Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Complex was commissioned by Pertevniyal Sultan. She attached great importance to the construction of the complex and had it designed as a complex consisting of a school, a tomb, a mosque and a library.

The notables of the Ottoman Empire, scholars, teachers and public attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the complex in 1872.

Owing to the fact that Pertevniyal Sultan gave utmost importance to the education, Pertevniyal High School was founded by her in 1872 with the full support of Sultan Abdülaziz.

The Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Complex is located in the Aksaray district of Istanbul. Aksaray has been an important trade and transportation center for many civilizations since ancient times. It has been one of the central locations of Istanbul, from the Roman Era to the Ottoman Empire. Some magnificent structures from the Ottoman Empire still stand here.