version of the Arab harem
, where upper-class women
were sequestered in separate quarters and not allowed to socialize with men most of the time. Russians probably picked up this custom when Russia was under Mongol
domination, but it lasted for several hundred years until the late 1600s when Peter the Great
's older half-sister Sophia
for him as a child, and even more during Peter's reign.
Such buildings as the Kremlin's Terem Palace and Terem Churches were built for women's use, and other royal palaces of the era have separate rooms where female members of the royal family could watch ceremonies without having to be in the same room with men.