The Ottoman dynasty was the longest lasting dynasty in the world - 641 years. In addition, the Ottoman Sultans had been Caliph of the Islamic world for 407 years; from 1516 when Selim Khan obtained the title, to 1924 when that dignity was abrogated. However, as both the Caliphacy and the sultanate ceased to function at times, it could be said that the Ottoman Caliphacy continued for 393 years, finishing at the point in time when Sultan Abdulhamid was dethroned. He had been the 98th Caliph (beginning with His Exalted Highness Abu Bakr).
Most of the Ottoman Sultans were craftsmen of one type or another. Some were poets, some calligraphers, athletes and carpenters. The poets were:
Amurath the Second, Mehmed the Conqueror, Bayezid the Lightning, Selim the Excellent, Suleyman the Legislator, Selim the Second, Amurath the Third, Mahomed the Third, Ahmed the First, Osman the Second, Amurath the Fourth, Mahmoud the First, Abdul Hamid the First, Selim the Third, Mahmoud the Second, Abdulaziz, Amurath the; Fifth and Mehmed Reshad.
Some of the calligraphers were - Ahmed the First, Osman the Second, Mahmoud the First and Moustafa the Fourth.
Apart from these, Suleyman the Magnificent was a goldsmith and Abdul Hamid an archer and bowman of great skill.
The longest ruling Sultan was Suleyman the Great, who reigned for 46 years, whilst the shortest reign was that of Amurath the Fifth - a period of just three months.
The 14th Sultan, Ahmed the First, reigned for 14 years. Sultan Abdulhamid II, the 33rd Emperor, reigned for exactly 33 years, and the 17th Sultan, Amurath the Fourth, ruled for 17 years.
From the founding of the great Ottoman Empire in 1299 until it was dissolved in 1922, 623 years passed. The Ottoman Emperors were usually called Padishah and rarely Hunkar or Sultan. Since August 29th, 1516 they were also called Calipha, being the greatest of the Moslem leaders.
The Sultan had to come from the Ottoman family and had total control of the country. To begin with, the eldest son of an Emperor was made Sultan but this honour passed to the eldest person in the family. Ottoman princes were given the title "Shaykh Zade", while princesses were called "Sultana". The mother of a Sultan was called "Walide Sultana" and the Sultan's wives were termed, at first, Haseki and later "Qadin Effendi".
Every Friday in the mosques Houtbes (sermons) were read in the name of the current Sultan. The dynasty colour of the Ottomans was red, while seven or nine aigrettes were taken for the Sultans. In addition, grand viziers, viziers and governor generals had five and Sandjack Beys obtained one.
Anything belonging to the Sultans was given the title Royal (Humayoun) or Imperial (Shakane).
The Turkish Emperors were crowned at the Mosque of Eyub on the first Friday of the sultanate.
The Sultan's palaces were called Saray-i Humayoun, the Palace of Topkapi being constructed on a plot of 700 acres and housing 40,000 people. Other famous palaces were the Imperial Palace of Edirne, Dolmabahche Palace and the Yildiz Palace. For over 405 years, from July 25th, 1518 until March 3rd, 1924, the Holy Qur'an was perpetually recited, day and night, in the Department of Mohammed's Cloak in the Topkapi Palace. The women of the palace lived in the Haram. The palace kitchen was called Matbakh Amire.
"Ottomans are extremely obedient to the principles of morality, honesty and honour, as mentioned in the Holy Qur'an. Social relations and orderliness among them depend on sincerity and compassion. They do not find it necessary to make written contracts between themselves as do people in other countries. Good will and a person's word solve every problem - Ottoman Turks are captives of their promises. They act this way not only to their compatriots but also to foreigners, regardless of their religion. It makes no difference whether people are Muslims or any other religion in respect of keeping their promises and they regard illegal profit as dishonest and against their religion. They sincerely believe that any fortune acquired this way makes one unhappy both in this world and the next."
Marco Polo said that Turkish women were the most chaste and decent in the world and Vembery stated that there were no words such as Fahishe (whore) and Pich (illegitimate child) in the old Turkish language. Such words had been taken from the Persian language.
Self esteem and haughtiness are regarded as characteristics of the Devil and a great statesman who is inordinately proud shows that he is not worthy of his position. In Ottoman ceremonies or processions officials shouted at the Sultan and all of the high officials "Never be proud of yourself. Allah is the only one to be glorified".
Respect for older people who have achieved high position, has been an unchanging Turkish tradition. Parents are to be respected, as are elder sisters and brothers. An elder brother has always been called Aghabei while an elder sister is given the name Abla and it is an insult to call them anything else. No older person is ever called by his or her actual name in Turkey.
Anyone who dies without carrying out a charitable deed was regarded as less than human, and as such, great many mosques (Masajid), fountains and all sorts of architectural works can be found - not counting military establishments - having been built as works of philanthropy during the Imperial era.
Turks are dignified, serious, sedate and humble. They hate noise and are never rowdy or boisterous. They like peace and tranquility, rarely reveal their emotions and regard boasting as shameful. Culture is essential to the Turk, as are courtesy and respect of womanhood.
(from "The Civiliation of the Ottomans" by Yilmaz Oztuna)