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FOUND: Suleiman the Magnificent’s Tomb

The funeral of Suleiman the Magnificent (Image: Wikimedia)

Suleiman the Magnificent’s death was befitting of his name. Now, the lost monument marking his dramatic demise may have been found.

The Ottoman sultan was 71 when he perished on a battlefield at the siege of Szigetvar in 1566. By this time, he had ruled the Empire for 46 years, and had expanded his power over a good chunk of land—across the Balkans, down into the Middle East and across North Africa. 

When Suleiman died, the spot where his tent stood supposedly became the burial place for at least part of him. His body was taken back to the Constantinople, but key parts (his heart and other organs) were buried by the tent. His death was kept secret for more than six weeks, because it didn’t seem like a good idea to tell soldiers their leader had perished in the middle of a campaign.

A tomb was erected, but eventually lost. Now, a team of researchers in Hungary, funded by the Turkish and Hungarian governments, think they have found the tomb. Led by Norbert Pap, at the University of Pecs, the team considered several places as possible tomb sites before they found a promising site at the settlement of Turbek, which the Hapsburg army destroyed about 100 years after Suleiman died. (The Ottomans never quite made it to Vienna, but the ruling Hapsburg family still considered the neighboring empire a serious enemy.)

At this site, the Hungarian team found evidence that there had once been several notable buildings there. One was oriented towards Mecca. They’re not yet completely sure that this was the site of Suleiman’s tomb, but right now, all evidence points to this being the place.

Bonus finds: Viking treasuresaints with animal heads

Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.