Sultan Murad III

Ruled 1574-1595

Sultan Murad III was born in 1546 in Manisa. His father was sultan Selim II and mother was Afife Nur Banu Hatun, a former Venetian nobel lady. He received a serious education from theologians and scholars, he spoke fluent Arabic and Persian. Murad III ascended to throne in 1574 after the death of his father. Murad III was very religious thus he led a life based on the rules of Sharia. He respected religious orders and their leaders, and interested in mysticism and poetry. At the same time he liked alcohol and parties at the Harem, he never left Istanbul during his rule which lasted for about 21 years.

Sultan Murad III devoted himself to the protection and improvement of the Ottoman institutions and administration, in order to make the Ottoman State more powerful. During his reign the treasury was improved and the army, government offices and educational institutions were reorganized. For this task he was supported and assisted by Sokollu Mehmet Pasha who was his Grand Vizier at that time. In 1578 Ottoman army captured Marocco and then Georgia, they also fought against Iran in the east and Austria on the west. Murad III's reign marked the largest expansion of the Ottoman territory: over 19,900,000 square kilometers (approximately 7,683,000 square miles). During this period good relations were established with Protestan England which was a strategic move against Catholic Europe.

Murad III died at the age of 49 in 1595 and was buried in a mausoleum in the courtyard of Hagia Sophia. His son, Mehmed III, succeeded him as the next sultan of the Ottoman Empire.