Sultan Orhan Gazi

Ruled 1324 or 1326-1360

Orhan Gazi was the second sultan of the Ottoman dynasty. He was the son Osman Gazi, founder of the Ottoman Empire, and his mother was Mal Hatun. Orhan Gazi was born in 1281 in Sogut town, ascended to throne in 1324, and died in Bursa in 1360.

He minted silver coins in his own name which were called as "Akçe" in Turkish. He was known for his charitable acts, distributing great amounts of his wealth to the poor and passing time with the common people to hear their thoughts and complaints. His nickname, Gazi, comes from the fact that he fought many "Gaza"s, known as the "Holly Wars". He married Holofira, a Byzantine noble woman, and changed her name to Nilufer Hatun after converting her to Islam. From this marriage the next sultan, Murad Hüdavendigar (Murad I), was born.

Like his father, he conducted many battles all through his life and conquered many lands. In 1326 he captured Bursa and made it the capital of his Empire. Then he captured Iznik (Nicea) in 1330, Mudurnu in 1331, Gemlik in 1333, Izmit in 1337, Ankara and Gallipoli - Dardanelles in 1354, and extended the Ottoman Empire to the Asian shores of the Bosphorus in 1352 as well as in Thrace. He made his brother, Alaeddin Pasha, his Grand Vizier, and he also appointed Suleyman Pasha who crossed over to Roumelia (Thrace) as the commander-in-chief.

In 1359 he stepped down leaving the throne to his son, Murat I or Murad Hudavendigar, and retired himself in Bursa until his death in 1360. Actually there are conflicts between historians regarding his death; some say 1358 and others 1362. His mausoleum, called as Gumuslu Kumbet, is located in Bursa today.