His Sultanate: 1326 60 (34 years)
Sultan Orkhan was born in 1281. His father was Osman Khan and his mother the Sultana Mal Khatoun. He reigned over the Ottoman Empire for 34 years, between 1326 and 1360. He died in 1360.
The great Ottoman Empire was established by Osman Khan but its development into a great Empire was due to Orkhan.
He was tall vith a blond beard and blue eyes. He was tenderhearted and mild, but when occasion demanded it, harsh and valiant. He sympathised with the poor and respected the followers of Islam. He was extremely religious and knew how to be popular with his people. At times he lived amongst them, listening to their complaints and grievances.
Orkhan was always calm and never put into a panic. His treatment of captured Christians after the conquest of Nicaea was legendary.
He fought his first battle when he was only 15 years old and continued to wage war all his life. He extended the Empire from 16,000 to 95,000 square kilometres.
Sultan Orkhan Khan personally led his armies. He improved the system of administration for the Empire, entrusting Ala'ud-din Pasha and Chandereli Kara Khalil Pasha (brother in law of Sheikh Edebali) with the task. The Empire was divided into three groups or departments - financial, military and environment.
His eldest son, Suleyman Pasha, died before him. Sultan Orkhan transferred the succession to his second son Amurath.
The first mosque built by the Ottmans was called Hadj Oezbek, finished in one year between 1333 and 1334, during the reign of Orkhan. He also created the Moslem Shool of Theology at Brusa and was the first Emperor to use the title Sultan. The first Ottoman money was minted and used in his time. and Muslims crossed into Europe for the first time during his sultanate. The Anatolian part of Istanbul was annexed to Ottoman territories at this time and the people of many conquered countries happily accepted Ottoman rule.
During Orkhan's reign, the following places were conquered. Brusa in 1326, Nicaea in 1326 and Gemlik in 1337. He won the Battle of Palekanon against the Byzantines, Karasi in 1345 and Angora and Gallipoli in 1354 were added to the Empire.
Orkhan Khan died in 1360 when he was 78 years of age. His mausoleum can still be seen, next to his father's, in Brusa. It is rectangular with four large marble columns. Its dome is wide and covered with sheets of lead. The interior walls arc simple and white. A chandelier hangs from the ceiling and in the middle of the mausoleum is Orkhan's sarcophagus, surrounded with balustrades of brass.
Also in the mausoleum are the remains of Abdullah, the son of Sultan Djem, and Korkout the son of Bayezet the Second, and the Sultana Niluper Hatoun, and the family of Orkhar and his son Kasim-Chelebi and Mousa-Chelebi. Altogether, there are 22 sarcophagus in the mausoleum which was made by Sultan Abdulaziz.
The great Muslim personalities of Sultan Osman Khan's reign were - Shaykh Muhammed Baba Samasi from the Naqshbandi Tariqa, the Sheikh Edebali and Hadji Bektash-i Velee. All of them died during Orkhan's reign.
Sultan Orkhan had five sons whose names were: Suleyman Pash, Amurath the First, lbrahim, Khalil, Kasim. He had one daughter called Fatima.