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Sultans Trail takes its name from sultan Süleyman Kanuni, Suleiman the Magnificent, of the Ottoman Empire who led Ottoman armies to conquer Belgrade and most of Hungary before his conquests were checked at the Siege of Vienna. The main path follows the route described by sultan Suleiman the Magnificent on his way to Vienna. He started on 10 May 1529 from Istanbul and arrived 23 September 1529 in Vienna (141 days). It was to be the Ottoman Empire's most ambitious expedition to the west, but the Austrians inflicted upon Suleiman his first defeat. A second attempt to conquer Vienna failed in 1532. In 1566, at the age of 60, the sultan led his army for the last time; he died close to Szigetvár in Hungary.
Contrary to its past the Sultans Trail nowadays forms a path of peace, a meeting place for people of all faiths and cultures. The trail starts at the St. Stephen's Cathedral in the centre of Vienna; the bells of this church are made from melted iron of the Ottoman canons. It ends at the tomb of the Sultan in Istanbul. The Sultans Trail is developed by volunteers from the Netherlands based NGO Sultans Trail International.
Beside the Bulgarian mountains the trail can be walked all year round. Most parts of the route have ample accommodation like hotels, pensions or private rooms. In parts of Hungary and Bulgaria bringing a tent is necessary.
Route of the Sultans Trail
- Austria Main route: Vienna, Simmering, Schwechat, Rauchenwarth, Trautmannsdorf an der Leitha, Bruck an der Leitha Sommerein, Breitenbrunn, Purbach am Neusiedler See, Donnerskirchen, Hornstein, Eisenstadt, Oggau am Neusiedler See, Rust, Mörbisch am See, Pamhagen, Neusiedl am See, Petronell-Carnuntum, Hainburg an der Donau, Wolfsthal.
- MATS Balaton route (till Mohács): St.Martin.
- Slovakia Main route: Devin, Bratislava, Marianka, Modra, Harmónia, Častá, Dobrá Voda, Prašník, Vrbové, Čachtice, Nové Mesto nad Váhom, Beckov, Trenčín, Topoľčany, Nitra, Nové Zámky, Kolárovo, Kameničná, Komárno, Iža, Radvaň nad Dunajom-Žitava, Radvaň nad Dunajom, Moča, Kravany nad Dunajom, Obid, Štúrovo
- Hungary Main route: Halászi, Györ, Tata, Tatabánya, Annavölgy, Esztergom, Szentendre, Budakalász, Budapest, Százhalombatta, Székesfehérvár, Dunaföldvár, Szekszárd, Bátaszék, Mohács, Sátorhely, Udvar.
- MATS Balaton route (till Mohács):: Sopron, St.Martin, Köszeg, Sárvár, Sümeg, Keszthely, Szuliman, Csertő, Szigetvár, Pécs, Mohács, Sátorhely, Udvar.
- Croatia Main route: Topolje, Draz, Podolje, Popovac, Beli Manastir, Karanac, Kozarac, Darda, Osijek, Erdut, Dalj, Vukovar, Šarengrad, Opatovac, Ilok.
- Serbia Main route: Bačka Palanka, Morović, Sremska Mitrovica, Mačvanska Mitrovica, Jarak, Šabac, Belgrade, Oresac, Smederevo, Velika Plana, Jagodina, Paracin, Deligrad, Nis, Niska Banja, Pirot, Dmitrovgrad.
- Serbia alternative route (till Belgrade):Backi Breg, Sombor, Apatin, Bač,_Serbia, Backa Palanka, Novi Sad, Petrovaradin, Sremski Karlovci.
- Bulgaria Main route: Kalotina, Dragoman, Sofia, Novi Han, Ihtiman, Pazardzhik, Stamboliyski, Plovdiv, Sadovo, Parvomay, Mineralni Bani, Haskovo, Harmanli, Lyubimets, Svilengrad.
- Bulgaria mountain route (after Sofia): Vitosha, Samokov, Rila Monastery, Rila, Velingrad, Borino, Smoljan, Ardino, Kardzjali, Svilengrad.
- Turkey Main route: Kapıkule, Kemalköy, Karabulut, Sarayakpınar, (Sırpsındığı), Avarız, Edirne, Kösençiftliği, Söğütlüdere, Hasköy, Hamzabey, Uluçınar, Ahmetbey, Karlı, Hallaçlı, İnceğiz, Çatalca, Dursunköy, Sazlıbosna, Şamlar, Kayabaşı Eyüp Sultan Mosque, Fatih and Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul.
- Turkey avyolu route (after Edirne): Hıdırağa, Karayusuf, Ortakça, Kavaklı, Yağcılı, Süloğlu, Büyük Gerdelli, Dolhan, Paşayeri, Koyunbaba, Kırklareli, Kızılcıkdere, Üsküpdere, Karıncak, Kaynarca, Pınarhisar, Erenler, Poyralı, Doğanca, Develi, Vize, Okçular, Evrenli, Çakıllı, Kavacık, Saray, Küçük Yoncalı, Safaalan, Binkılıç, Aydınlar, Yaylacık, Gümüşpınar, İhsaniye, Akalan, Dağyenice, Boyalık, Dursunköy, (after Dursunköy the same route as above).
- Official Sultans Trail website
- Overview of cultural Routes in Turkey
- Sultanstrail and Sufipath united
- Article about the Sultans Trail in Zaman.
- Journal of Suleiman the Magnificent during 1. siege of Vienna German Language
- Sultan's Trail wandelgids - Wandelen in Thracië. Sedat Çakır, 2011. ISBN/EAN: 978-94-90787-02-8. Dutch Language guide book of Turkish part of Sultans Trail.