The tomb of the Ottoman Empire’s longest-serving sultan may well have been unearthed in southern Hungary, with archaeologists claiming that the finding does “in all likelihood” contain the remains of the fabled Suleiman I.
Rising to power in 1520, the so-called Suleiman the Magnificent oversaw a number of notable military, political, and cultural advancements during his 46-year reign. Among his greatest achievements was the considerable expansion of the empire, which by the time of his death in 1566 extended from Iran in the east to Austria in the West, with tentacles that stretched as far south as North Africa.
However, his demise, at the age of 71, came about just two days before one of his army’s most hard-fought victories, at the gates of the fortress Szigetvár in Hungary in 1566, which finally fell after famously resisting the Ottoman invasion for a month. Suleiman's body is thought to have been taken to Constantinople – now Istanbul – following his death, although historical records suggest that a shrine containing his heart and intestines was buried on the site of his tent in an Ottoman settlement called Turbek, meaning "tomb."
Until now, the exact location of this tomb had remained a mystery, since Turbek was destroyed in the late 17th century. However, a team of researchers led by Norbert Pap of the University of Pecs in Hungary believe they have now finally found the long-lost remains.
Pap’s team studied historical archives in order to learn of the approximate location of the tomb, and then used geophysical and remote sensing to pinpoint the ruins of a number of buildings. According to the researchers, these buildings contain a number of clues that strongly suggest they house the tomb of the famous sultan. For instance, digs conducted in October and November helped to excavate a large chamber that closely resembles the style of Suleiman's mausoleum in Istanbul, where his embalmed body remains on display.
In a statement, Pap explained that “everything suggests that this building could have been Suleiman's tomb. However, in order to be able to assert this with 100 percent certainty, further examinations and the excavations of the other surrounding buildings are necessary.” The next stage of excavations is expected to begin in April of next year.
Image in text: The famous Suleymaniye mosque in Istanbul contains the embalmed body of Suleiman I. Myrabella via Wikimedia Commons