[Update] New clues in the search for the elusive heart of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent


Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.  Image credit: Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Image credit: Wikipedia

Hurriyet Daily News reports that a team of researchers recently discovered a historical document that indicates Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent’s (1494-1566) heart and internal organs were buried in a garden in mosque complex in Szigetvar, Hungary.

“It says the internal organs were buried in the garden near the ‘hanikah’ (dervish lodge) of the Süleyman Mosque in Szigetvar,” Mehmet Zeki İbrahimgil, a history professor at Gazi University.

If this turns out to the final resting place for some of Suleiman’s remains, it would come as a surprise to many experts. Since Suleiman died outside the walls Szigetvár, the Suleiman Mosque was never considered a possible site for the burial because of it’s location inside the fortress of Szigetvár.

Suleiman’s Death

In August of 1566, Suleiman and about 100,000 Ottoman troops reached the Hungarian fortress of Szigetvár, en route to Vienna.  The Muslim Turks took the town in September 1566 after a massive battle, during which Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent died.

Suleiman’s body was to be buried in Constantinople, the capitol of the Ottoman Empire. Since it was a two-month journey back to Constantinople, the army decided to embalm his body to slow decomposition. Suleiman’s heart and organs were removed as part of that process and stored in Szigetvár.  It’s believed that his organs were placed in a shrine in 1577, built by his son, Sultan Selim II. But invading Austrians destroyed the shrine in 1692.

In 1913 a Catholic Church, Szuz Maria (Saint Marie) Church was constructed northeast of the fortress of Szigetvar.The priest of Szüz Maria claimed that the Suleiman shrine had once been there, but many experts believe this may have been propaganda, just ahead of World War I in which Austro-Hungarian Empire and Ottoman Empire would be allied.

Search for the Remains

A research team was formed in 2012, comprised of Turkish and Hungarian scientists, to find Suleiman’s remains by 2016, the 450th anniversary his death. The weird part is this team was formed by The Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA), a memorandum of understanding signed by both countries to restore the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent Mosque. At the time they didn’t know the remains might be buried at the very mosque they were restoring.

In September of 2013, Hungarian archaeologists unearthed the remains of an Ottoman-era town in Hungary. The town, called Turbek, was just east of Szigetvár, and was founded by the Ottomans after the death of Suleiman.

After the discovery of Turbek, there were two different theories about where Suleiman’s remains were located. The Turkish members argued it Suleiman’s heart and organs are under Szüz Maria Church, while the Hungarian members believed they were buried in the newly discovered Turbek. As it turns out, both may have been wrong.

Now Hungarian officials must issue permission before excavations at the mosque can begin.


New claim on the whereabouts of Süleyman the Magnificent’s heart (2014 May 14).  Retrieved on May 14th, 2014 from: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/new-claim-on-the-whereabouts-of-suleyman-the-magnificents-heart.aspx?pageID=238&nid=66225&NewsCatID=375


Hungarian and Turkish Historians Renew Search of Suleiman the Magnificent’s Remains

[UPDATE] Search for Suleiman’s Heart Leads To Discovery of Ottoman Era Town

Hungarian Archaeologists in Search of Suleiman the Magnificent’s Heart


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