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The tomb of sultan Suleiman in Szigetvár
The research for finding the traces of the tomb (türbe) of sultan Suleiman in Szigetvár has been carried out since late 2012, with funding received from the Turkish government (through TIKA). Since September 2015, through the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA), the state of Hungary has also supported the examinations.
Erika Hancz, Dr. Norbert Pap, Dr. Máté Kitanics
The research group established in 2013 examined several possible locations and excluded numerous ones from the examination. These included the environs of the Hungarian-Turkish Friendship Park along the Almás Stream, where the symbolic grave of the sultan is still open to visitors. This area was formerly covered with water periodically, it was unsuitable for construction and its characteristics did not comply with the information on the tomb found in written sources.
Béla Simon and Dr. Máté Kitanics
We have also thoroughly examined the surroundings of the shrine church of Virgin Mary the Protectress, located approximately 400 metres to the southwest from the current location of Turbékpuszta. A memorial plaque worded in Hungarian and Ottoman Turkish, placed in 1913, announces on the church façade that the Sultan’s tomb used to be here. However around the church built on a flat, marshy land, from where the fortress cannot be seen, the geophysical examinations showed no sign of the foundations of a significant building, a fortification or the remains of Ottoman era life. Earlier excavations also failed to uncover any type of evidence suggesting these. The location does not comply with the geographical characteristics described in written sources about the tomb. Based on the above, in early 2015 we also excluded this location from the range of possible sites.
The research group already suggested in 2013 that the remains of the tomb may be located at an area so far ignored: on the top of the Turbék-Zsibót vineyard, located approximately 1200 metres from the church. The site is compatible with the written sources, while the traces of Ottoman era life are apparent on the surface (tile and brick artefacts, etc.). According to the local population, "Turkish ruins" used be located here, and they have reported Ottoman era archaeological artefacts on numerous occasions.
With the geophysical and remote sensing examinations carried out in 2014/15, the traces of several buildings of a significant size could be described, all oriented toward the southeast. One of them is almost exactly oriented toward Mecca. The layout of the buildings is compatible with the buildings in the 1664 depiction of Turbék (cami [mosque] / türbe, dervish monastery, military barracks, remains of the fortification).
We have uncovered the remains of the cami or türbe walls during the archaeological excavations carried out in October/November 2015. The building constructed in the Ottoman era was rectangular; its wide walls were built from bricks and stones. The main room of the building is 7.8x7.8 metres large. It could be accessed from the northwest, through a triple-aisle lobby.
There is no trace of a mihrab or minaret. The building was covered with stone tiles, and there is a rather large, 2 metres deep robber pit in its central part, which was presumably dug by raiders in the late 17th century. Some luckily survived decorative elements of the former building show kinship to the decoration of the Suleiman türbe in Istanbul. Currently everything suggests that this building could have been Suleiman's tomb. However, in order to be able to assert this with 100% certainty, further examinations and the excavations of the other surrounding buildings are necessary. Examinations with technical devices and archaeological excavation will continue next spring.
Currently ongoing studies are multi-threaded. In addition to historical, historic geography and archaeological examinations, we also conduct research works in the fields of memory policy and church history. We also research the history of establising the Virgin Mary the Protectress church in Turbék and we conduct surveys and excavations at the former battlefield. In order to better understand the historical framework of the Siege of Szigetvár in 1566 and its historic importance, we are examining the diplomatic records from the era.
Dr. Norbert Pap
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