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Archaeologists renew search for Suleiman the Magnificent’s remains

The Szuz Maria Church Szigetvar built on the location of the shrine, destroyed by Austro-Hungarians in 1689.

A group of Turkish and Hungarian historians have renewed their efforts to uncover Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent’s heart and internal organs.  The sultan died in 1566, after a famous siege of the fortress at Szigetvar, Hungary.  It’s believed that his men buried his internal organs in the town after they embalmed his body for the long trip back to Constantinople.  According to local tradition, his heart and other organs were buried in a shrine on the top of a hill near Szigetvar.  Most historians believed that the shrine was destroyed in 1692 by Austro-Hungarians, and a church the Szuz Maria (Saint Marie) Church, was built in its place.  Today there are differing opinions about this theory, and the Hungarian and Turkish teams seem to be split.

Hurriyet Daily News is reporting that the Hungarian team leader, Erica Hancz, believes that the shrine isn’t located under the church because they haven’t found any traces of it yet.  Hancz believes this disproves the local accounts of the shrine being destroyed, and wants to excavate the area nearby, where they have also recovered Ottoman artifacts  Hungarian experts argue that the shrine may lie in the middle of a small village, called Turbek, that is just east of Szigetvar, and was recently discovered by archaeologists.

Their Turkish counterparts remain more cautious about questioning the long-held hypothesis.  While Fatih Elcil, a Turkish historian, concedes that they haven’t found any remnants of the shrine underneath the church yet, but wants to continue looking.  The area of the church experienced repeated flooding over the years, so any evidence of the shrine could be buried under sediment.

Both teams hope to find the shrine by 2016, the 550th anniversary of Suleiman the Magnificent’s death.

Read more at:

Hurriyet Daily News

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