The lost tomb of Suleiman the Magnificent may have been discovered
While the Medicis were busy establishing financial dominance over the Italian city-states, and England was busy having a literary revolution, the Ottoman Empire stretched across a huge section of the known world. And at its hearts was its ruler, Suleiman.
During the 16th century, Suleiman the Magnificent ruled over as many as 30 million people. Under his reign, the Ottoman Empire reached from the Persian Gulf to Budapest, while dominating the eastern Mediterranean.
Suleiman died at the age of 71 in 1566, during the siege of the Hungarian fort at Szigetvar. His death was a pivotal moment in the history of the world, but his final resting place has been the subject of debate for centuries.
Suleiman’s lost tomb has reportedly been discovered by Hungarian historian, Norbert Pap. More confirmation is needed, but a recent excavation has unearthed several objects that conform with the tomb of Suleiman.
If it is confirmed as Suleiman’s tomb, the archaeologists are hoping to uncover plenty of artifacts, along with the sultan’s heart and internal organs, which were removed to keep the body from putrefying. Following his death, Suleiman’s body was embalmed and transported back to Constantinople, where it remains at the Süleymaniye Mosque. His tomb housing his organs, however, has remained the subject of many debates.
The discovery was made in southern Hungary, in what used to be the Ottoman settlement of Turbek. Despite his age, Suleiman personally led his army into Hungary. The siege of Szigetvar proved a more difficult and costly encounter than the Ottomans expected, and Suleiman died during the siege. In order to keep the moral of the troops up. Suleiman’s generals kept his death secret for 48 days.
The Ottomans eventually took Szigetvar, but it was a pyrrhic victory. It slowed the Ottoman march to Vienna, and ultimately led to the Ottomans turning back. After Suleiman’s death, a period of stagnation set in, accompanied by a series of ineffectual and corrupt rulers. The Ottoman Empire would survive in some form until World War I, but it was never as influential as it was under Suleiman.
“We have data which all points in the same direction,” Pap said at a presentation of the latest findings. “That is why we say ‘in all certainty,’ because there is no sign pointing in another direction. But more confirmation is needed, as this is a very delicate topic.”
The team will begin the painstaking work of excavating the site and authenticating each piece recovered. If it is the tomb of Suleiman, it may be a while before it is confirmed.