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The Tomb of Suleiman The Magnificent’s Heart Found

Suleiman the Magnificent

<![CDATA[Suleiman I, the only son of Selim I, was born November 6th, 1494 on the Black Sea coast of Turkey. At the age of 26 he became the tenth sultan of the Ottoman Empire, in 1520. In his homeland he was known as Kanuni (the lawgiver), but to Europeans he's always been Suleiman the Magnificent. Now it seems the long lost tomb where his heart and other internal organs were buried in Hungary has been found. In the summer of 1566, Szigetvár Castle in Hungary was the site of a bloody siege. For five desperate weeks the castle’s garrison - the hopelessly outnumbered forces of the Austrian Empire - held off an advancing army of more than 100,000 Ottoman troops led by Suleiman, who was by then a graying veteran leading his thirteenth military crusade. All accounts from the time describe a heroic fight which ended in what can only be called a cavalry charge of death and glory. None of the Austrian troops survived, but the weeks of bitter resistance had cost the Turks over 20,000 men and stopped their campaign in its tracks. Suleiman never saw the castle fall. Just the night before the sickly sultan died in his tent, two months before he would have turned 72. The sultan’s body was taken home to be buried in Constantinople, leaving behind the legend along with his heart and internal organs in Hungary, buried under the military tent where he died, in a golden casket. When the Austrian Habsburg Empire forced the Turks out of Hungary more than 100 years later in the 1680's, both the town of Turbek and the tomb were destroyed. Turbek, a small settlement and the location of Suleiman’s encampment during the siege, was discovered in 2013 and has been the site of ongoing excavations since then. In addition to the building they believe to be the sultan’s tomb, researchers have uncovered a small mosque, military barracks and a dervish monastery, arranged in a pattern which matches a 1664 town map. They've also discovered decorations on wall fragments which match those found in Suleiman's Turkish tomb. The actual building believed to be Suleiman's tomb contains a large pit, an indication it was the victim of looting sometime towards the end of the seventeenth century. Suleiman's Hungarian tomb was supposedly built on the very spot where his tent stood during the siege, and where he ultimately died. According to Norbert Pap, department head of Political Geography, Regional and Development Studies at the University of Pecs in Hungary, objects found during the dig and other historical evidence strongly suggest this is in fact the remains of the great sultan’s tomb. Pap is hopeful further excavations, which have stopped for the winter and are scheduled to resume in April, will provide conclusive evidence. Until his death at the age of 71, Suleiman was the longest ruling sultan of the Ottoman Empire. During his 46-year reign (1529 - 1566) the Turks dramatically expanded their dominance across the Balkans, North Africa, the Middle East and eastward into Egypt. The empire nearly doubled in size in these years. His fleet, under the command of the fearsome Admiral Barbarossa, was master of practically the entire Mediterranean. As sultan, Suleiman was responsible for modernizing the judicial system and the military, while he himself was an accomplished goldsmith and poet. This was an uplifting and prosperous period not only for Istanbul, but the whole Ottoman Empire as well. Numerous buildings were constructed which still survive today; new dams and aqueducts were built, as were schools, Turkish baths, bridges and botanical gardens. ]]>

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