Kâğıthane had been royal hunting grounds since the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent. In 1724 Sultan Ahmet III opens this fairy-tale setting to the citizens of Istanbul for their diversion and enjoyment. Citizens from all corners of the city gather on the emerald lawn and in the meadows of tulips that are bordered by the crystal clear waters of a creek. Many twnts have been set up in every corner of the huge garden. Oil lamps and candlelight illuminate the star- bright nights as fireworks flash across the sky like comets. The sweet melodies of strings and percussion are carried by yhe gentle breeze, inviting all to wonder if they have indeed arrived in paradise.
Thirty marble columns prop Sadabat, the elegant summer house of the harem on the shore of a brook. The aquamarine pond shimmers as a dragon-shaped fountain spouts water from the elm-tree garden to delight Rabia Sultana.
It is after sunset. Rabia reclines under the magnolia trees. Her hair is golden, her eyes sapphire-blue, the skin of her attractive face rosy – white, her body supple and vital.Her full lips break into a seductive smile. Rabia Şermi Sultana, Of Circassian origin and only seventeen, has been the Sultan’s favorite for three years. Two tall odalisques try to refresh her with the cooling breeze of rounded fans on long handles.