Nick Trend takes us to Topkapi Palace and explores the harem. An excerpt:
Did the sultan flick his handkerchief at his girl of choice for each night? Possibly. Did some have strange proclivities which tended in the dark and dreadful way that our guide seemed to be implying? I’m not sure I really want to know. But Sultan Ibrahim I, who died in 1648, certainly seems to have had an obsession with finding more and more obese women, and is rumoured to have ordered the drowning of his entire harem of 280 girls on a whim.