The Golden Horn flows murky and pale like an old silver ingot. A grey veil covers Istanbul obscuring the clear sky. Sultan Mustafa’s mother Gülnuş Valide Sultana is passing through Azapkapı. Her eye is drawn to a beautiful little girl with waist- long black hair and shiny black eyes who is drawing water into a clay jug from a fountain. The Sultana’s attention distracts the girl, who drops her filled jug to the ground. It shatters into a million pieces. Saliha, the young girl, breaks out in tears.
Gentle Gülnuş steps out of the silver- plated coach, holding the skirts of her gold-embroidered dress. She hugs Saliha, consoling her with soothing words: “Don’t be sad my sweet darling. I will replace your jug with a much more beautiful one. “To which Saliha replies with a surprising answer: “My Lady, I am not crying for the broken jug. I am angry with myself because I failed this simplest of chores. If I can’t even fetch water from the fountain, what good am I?” Gülnuş Sultana, astonished by the depth of little Saliha’s emotions, takes her to the palace and educates her with much care.
In the year 1695 Mustapha II, Gülnuş Valide Sultana’s son, accedes to the throne of the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile, her protege Saliha has grown into an astoundingly beautiful woman. The Sultana introduces her to the new Sultan, and Topkapi Palace witnessses a mythical wedding.
Saliha Sultana’s fate, which began in front of a fountain, continues to dwell on fountains. The magnificent plaza and ornate fountain which the Sultana commissioned for Azapkapı are regarded as masterpieces of Ottoman era Turkish architecture.