Researchers have been searching the grounds of the Hungarian fortress of Sziget, in Szigetvár, Hungary, for Suleiman the Magnificent‘s heart, This week, on September 20th, the team will publish a report on the location of the heart of one of the Ottoman Empire’s most famous leaders.
In August of 1566, Suleiman and about 100,000 Ottoman troops reached the Hungarian castle of Sziget, on his route to Vienna-which Suleiman expected to capture. The Muslim Turks took the town in September 1566 after a massive battle, during which Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent died. The losses the Ottoman army sustained during that battle were so great that they were stopped in their tracks and didn’t try to conquer Vienna again for another 120 years.
Suleiman’s body was to be buried in the capitol of the empire, but it was a two month long trip back to Constantinople, so the army embalmed his body to slow decomposition. According to local tradition, they removed Suleiman’s heart and intestines, as part of that process, and buried them somewhere in Szigetvár. It was believed that his organs were placed in a shrine, which according to local tradition was destroyed in 1692, and a Catholic church was built on its remains.
The area that the research team believes is the final resting place of Suleiman’s organs is called the Hungarian-Turkish Friendship Park, and was built with financial support of the Turkish Republic on the 500th anniversary of Sultan Süleyman’s death. There are a few maps that note the location of the heart but the team is not relying on them too much because this area was conquered and resettled several times over the centuries. So the Hungarian research team continues its work in hopes of finding Suleiman’s heart. I can’t wait to see what gets published later next week.
Currently, the mayor and city leaders of Szigetvár are in the process of turning this small village into a tourist town complete with a five-star hotels and a visitor center for the ancient fortress. The Szigetvár also hopes to further restore the castle and other Ottoman-era monuments. Before they can finish these projects, they must find the final resting place of Suleiman’s heart and organs (no pressure).
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