EFEBudapest

A small Hungarian town Wednesday commemorated the discovery of the tomb of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1494-1566) and the anniversary of his death.

The events were attended by the Hungarian and Croatian Presidents and the Turkish Vice President, who traveled to Szigetvar to unveil a monument and give speeches.

Also in attendance on the 450th anniversary of the Sultan's death were five Ottoman princesses descended from Suleiman, who paid homage to their ancestor and visited his grave.

Archaeologists recently found his tomb in Szigetvar, a town of barely 10,000 people located in southern Hungary, that years ago bore witness to a battle between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary.

"From now on this is officially Suleiman's tomb," said Norbert Pap, director of the investigative team that found the grave of one of the biggest characters in Turkish and European history.

Pap hoped the town could become a place of pilgrimage for thousands of tourists who would want to know more about the major historical figure.

Suleiman conquered large parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East throughout his 46-year reign, leading the Ottoman Empire to reach its peak.

He was believed to have died of illness just before the Battle of Szitgetvar, and his body was reportedly sent to Istanbul.

However, it was rumored that his heart and other internal organs were buried in a golden casket under the tent where he died.

Pap's archaeological team did not find the heart, but they did find his tomb in a group of buildings indicated by ancient maps.

Everything from the hexagonal decorative motifs to the orientation towards Mecca showed that this was the place they were looking for.

Szigetvar was founded in 1576 and destroyed by Habsburg troops in 1692 who were recapturing the region from the Ottoman Empire.

The town now has a Turkish-Hungarian Friendship Park, where sculptures of Suleiman and Miklos Zrinyi, the Sultan's Hungarian-Croatian opponent who was killed in the same battle.