In addition to their artistic characteristics, maps are valuable as historical documents. They offer visual information related to our cultural history and provide details about the development of the cities in which we live.

Maps reflect the geographical values of the century in which they were produced and published, the characteristics of their genre, and the skills in observation and evaluation of cartographers and geographers working within the possibilities of their era. Maps “tell us about the borders and nature of what we own (country, city, land), and establish the structure of history by moulding the world into a more understandable structure. In addition, they inform us about a world that we are unable to see from where we are standing, bringing the past and future to today.”1

If we want to trace the past of Istanbul on maps, we have to go back to the first quarter of the 15th century. The oldest known Istanbul map is the perspective spatial map of Cristoforo Buondelmonti (d. 1431), dated 1422 (Figure 1).2

There are also designs that are not maps in the fullest sense of the word but sketches, particularly in samples from earlier dates. The perspective, shallow perspective, plan, and what is known as bird’s-eye view maps and/or panoramas in Western literature are examples that should be evaluated according to the possibilities of the century in which they were published; generally these are evaluated within the category of maps.3

Buondelmonti, a Florentine cleric and traveler with a humanist worldview, visited the Aegean islands and coast of Greece during his eight-year stay on the island of Rhodes, where he was assigned in 1412. It is known that he came to Constantinople at least twice. He collected his notes and drawings in an atlas entitled Liber Insularum Archipelagi (Book of the Aegean Islands), which he dedicated to Cardinal Giardano Orsini. Various copies of the book, the original of which is not extant, can be found in European libraries.4

The map, which is in the shape of a perspective plan, is known to have been drawn from Buondelmonti’s personal observations. The fact that the first map of Istanbul was based on observation and included first-hand narrated information should be emphasized, as many “maps” of Istanbul (plans and bird’s-eye views) were created by people who had never visited the city.

This map, which reflects the broad outlines of Istanbul in the Byzantine era, known at the time as Constantinople, would be published in later centuries in different versions and using different techniques. The best known of these is in the book by the priest Banduri, published in 1711 (Figure 2).5 The city, surrounded by its walls, is depicted in the shape of a triangle. It is portrayed in three parts, as can be clearly seen in later maps: the original city (Constantinople), Pera/Galata, and Üsküdar. Importance is given to the city within the walls and to Pera. While Scutari, or Üsküdar, is represented by only two structures, it is assumed that the two columns outside of the Galata Walls indicate the city’s Dolmabahçe-Beşiktaş district.

In his work Banduri “briefly describes the walls, the ports, the Hippodrome, the important columns, palaces, churches and cisterns” of the Byzantine capital, which is depicted as a “very unfortunate city.” “Banduri states that of Hagia Sophia, however, only the building itself remains, and that other structures belonging to the church have been destroyed. He writes that some of the cisterns have dried up and are unusable. He observes that Constantinople has a population smaller than thought.”6

1- C. Buondelmonti, the oldest Istanbul map known in history, drawn in 1420, published in A. Banduri 1711

2- Hartman Schedel, the oldest published map of Istanbul, 1493, wood print

3- Hartman Schedel, lightning strike on Güngörmez Church, 1493, wood print

It can be observed that settlements and buildings are rare in areas outside the areas of the ports and monumental structures—that is, within the city walls. Another traveler who visited the city in the 15th century described Constantinople as a “city that has been transformed into scattered villages, united around the walls” and “a never-ending but desolate place.... although the coastal districts are full of life, other districts are equally lifeless.”7

All of these descriptions belong to the era after the Latin invasion, between 1204 and 1261. Constantinople, which had attracted the attention of the West with its wealth and might, experienced devastating pillaging and looting during the invasion, which was part of the Fourth Crusade. Dwellings and religious structures were plundered and pillaged, many valuable artifacts and treasures were pilfered, and the city was set on fire and destroyed, losing all its great wealth; indeed, the extent of destruction was such that it would be impossible for the city to recover. In Boundelmonti’s plan, Hagia Sophia, the nearby Hippodrome, and parts of the Emperor’s Palace were portrayed in ruins.

The walls surrounding the city, the names of certain gates facing the Golden Horn and the Marmara Sea, and ports are recorded in this map. A stream dividing the ancient city within the walls is the Likos or Bayrampasa Stream, which is generally portrayed in maps. There is no trace of the stream today.

The plan provides general information, even if limited, on topics such as the general order of the city, the squares, significant monuments, road system, walls, and ports. It can be observed that the Galata area, which was a Genoese settlement at the time, is a populated area within the city walls. The opposite side of Constantinople is Pera. The meaning of the word pera is “the other side”; however, in antiquity this area was referred to as Sykae, meaning fig tree. The hills behind Galata, which is known as Beyoğlu today, were known as the Pera Orchards.

4- Sebastian Münster, an Overview of Istanbul, 1544, wood print

Boundelmonti’s plan was hand-drawn and not printed; the first printed map of the city was a woodcut of a bird’s-eye view of Istanbul in German printer Hartman Schedel’s 1493 World History (Figure 2). Despite its publication date, the map actually represents the city in the late Byzantine era. Thus, both incunabula symbolically portray the city after the Latin invasion and immediately before the conquest.

The double-headed eagle emblems on some of the towers along the walls that surround the city signify the realism of the depiction. They also serve as the basis for the view that the map represents the city in the Byzantine era. Eyewitnesses related that some of these emblems could still be seen on the walls until they were moved to the Archaeology Museum in the 1870s. The inclusion on these maps (of which Boundelmonti’s is the most important) of symbols from the Byzantine era also helped ensure that the city’s Christian identity was not forgotten.8

Important religious structures within the city walls are symbolically depicted. Realistic details that are immediately noticeable include the column topped by a statue of Byzantine Emperor Justinian, which was located in the square immediately in front of Hagia Sophia and which was described by visitors to the city, and the mills located close to the area known today as Samatya. Buondelmonti’s map shows Galata, although separated from the city by the Golden Horn, as crowded, and the real city as quite uninhabited. Despite the fact that the map depicts randomly collected information, it does overlap in some ways with the accounts of travelers who visited the city in the same period.

5- A. di Vavassore, an Overview of Istanbul, 1550

The same atlas includes a few more images that are related to Istanbul. One of these shows the lightning strike that caused Güngörmez Church to explode (Figure 3). The church was being used as a gunpowder storehouse in Sultan Ahmet. This is an early example of a thematic map of Istanbul.

Istanbul Maps in the 16th Century

The Istanbul portrayed in the maps that were created from the 16th century onward belonged to the Ottoman Turkish era. While the walls surrounding the city are the first feature that attracts attention in the maps of the Byzantine era, the structures stand out more in the post-conquest era.

Sebastian Münster (1489–1552) is considered one of the three most important cartographers of the 16th century and one of the most influential geographers of his time and beyond. The Istanbul map drawn by Münster and published in Basel in 1544 in the atlas Cosmographia (Figure 4), is remarkable.9

A 1520 Istanbul map attributed to Giovanni Andrea di Vavassore (1510–1572) is widely accepted as the departure point of Münster’s design (Figure 5). It portrays the city as seen from the coast of Üsküdar, oriented so that north is to the right rather than on top. This map design, which is a template, is not a full map, a full plan, or a scenic depiction. It can be described as a bird’s-eye map or panorama that broadly includes characteristics of all these genres. In the center of the foreground, the sultan is shown riding a horse, surrounded by his entourage and infantry, who are holding bows and arrows.

The most characteristic and magnificent bird’s-eye panoramic maps depicted from the coast of Üsküdar are those by the German publisher and editor George Braun (1541–1622) and the engraver Franz Hosenberf (1535–1590) entitled Byzantium Constantinopolis (Figure 6). This map was published in a six-volume collection of engravings entitled Civitates Orbis Terrarum, printed in Cologne between 1572 and 1618, which includes the plans of more than 500 cities of the known world. It was prepared with a unique design and is the first of its kind.

In addition to the figure of the sultan riding a horse in the Vavassore map, past sultans are portrayed in the medallions under the map. These portraits may be based on originals in the Vatican.10 Wolfgang Müller-Wiener has also suggested that Vavassore’s map was based on a drawing by the famous Italian illustrator Gentile Bellini, who had also painted a portrait of Mehmed II after traveling to Istanbul in 1479. The portraits of the sultans in the medallions on the right and left also indicate the date the map was printed. While there were 11 portraits of sultans in the 1572 print, beginning with Osman Bey and ending with Sultan Selim II, Sultan Murad III was added to the 1576 edition.

6- G Braun & F. Hogenberg, an Overview of Istanbul, 1572, copper print

This map focuses on Istanbul within the city walls; the walls are portrayed in detail with monuments, the road system, and the Galata/Pera area, whereas Üsküdar, Kadiköy, and their surroundings are merely pointed out. Despite the title of the map, what is really being portrayed is Ottoman-era Constantinople—that is, Istanbul. This is one of the oldest known post-conquest maps.

Following the conquest, Sultan Mehmed II gave great importance to development, ordering the pashas who were employed in the government and other leading individuals to construct new buildings in the city. These development efforts, initiated in order to enliven the Turkish vakif system, also had the effect of speeding up the formation of new districts. The Fatih Complex, constructed between 1463 and 1470, is “the first monumental expression of the city’s Turkish era … and is an undertaking that is unparalleled in world history during that era.”11

Other structures portrayed in the map, other than houses and streets, are the new palace at Sarayburnu, surrounded by walls; Hagia Sophia, which was converted into a mosque and had a minaret added; the Hippodrome and its surroundings; the Kadirga port; and Yedikule. In the middle is the old palace with a spacious garden in Beyazit Square and the monumental Fatih Complex immediately above it. The place outside of the Galata area where the galleys are located is the shipyard; behind this are the hills of Okmeydanı. The main roads and their connections are depicted in detail.

7- Porcacchi, Istanbul from the book <em>Isolaria</em>, 1572, copper print

8- G. Rosaccio, Istanbul from the book <em>Isolaria</em>, 1598, copper print

This map and its design are of a magnificence that is in keeping with the era of the Ottoman state. It was used throughout the 16th century, with changes being made only to the dimensions and the names of the cartographers (Figures 7, 8, and 9).

Istanbul Maps in the 17th Century

In the 17th century, changes began to appear in the designs of maps; details indicating settlement areas and their surroundings started to appear. The Istanbul map of Guillaume Joseph Grelot (1630–1705), dated 1680, continued the panorama map tradition and took it even further. While La Ville et le Port de Constantinople (Figure 10) demonstrates the same general approach as the map by Vavassore, it has a different appearance thanks to the illustrator’s interpretation. It is one of the most important Istanbul images published in the 17th century. One of its characteristic features is the use of designs, in a variety of dimensions and shapes, which influenced other 17th-century cartographers. Gerlot’s Istanbul map, published in 1680, is an example of such maps. In terms of design, these maps tend to be repetitious.

9- J. Grelot’s Panorama of Istanbul, copper print

Gerlot was a traveler whose works differed from those of his contemporaries. He spent six years in the Ottoman Empire, one and a half of which were in Istanbul. He noted in his travelogue’s prologue that “the most important places in this city have been enriched with pictures and plans depicted by the author.” Gerlot created the first illustrations and plans of Hagia Sophia. From his map it can be understood that the city was crowded, the number of buildings had increased, and it had been transformed into a Turkish Muslim city. Geographic locations and land features are clearer. The settlements along the coastal line from Üsküdar to the tip of Fener Bahce are portrayed according to the topography, including the hills and slopes, and the summer palace that was built by Sultan Süleyman I. In addition, it shows the plot of land where the Kavak Palace was situated, the location of Kadiköy and Harem today. The Bosphorus, however, is not depicted in these maps.

Istanbul Maps in the 18th Century

Istanbul map-making traditions underwent substantial change in the 18th century. In the maps discussed above, the true subject is the original Istanbul within the city walls, with the Galata/Pera area treated as a separate small city; the Asian coast is represented along with the Üsküdar-Fenerbahce shores, while the Bosphorus is generally absent. The notion of portraying everything in the city was gradually dropped from maps during the 16th and 17th centuries, and the Bosphorus began to emerge among the locations depicted; in fact, it became the prominent theme in such maps, particularly from the 17th century onward.

While the city within the walls continued to be depicted as clearly as possible, some elements began to be placed on the map for purely decorative reasons. For instance, on the 1683 small-scale Istanbul map by Alain Manneson Mallet (1603–1706), a small Turkish house (as seen from the street) with its garden, totally unrelated to the map, is depicted in the upper section (Figure 11). Similarly, a scale, unrelated to the map, has been placed in the lower part of a 1688 Bosphorus map (Figure 12) by the Dutch cartographer Olfert Dapper (1636–1689).

10- A. M. Mallet, schema of Istanbul and Turkish house, 1683, copper print

11- O. Dapper, map of Bosporus and measurement instruments, 1688, copper print

12- Coronelli, map of Bosporus, 1688, copper print

In maps that focus on the Bosphorus Straits, they are referred to in different ways—for example, Bosforo Tracio, Bosphore de Thrace, and Canale di Constantinopoli. The settlements along the coast are recorded in the same order. These similarities demonstrate how cartographers and geographers were influenced by one another.

A map by Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650–1718) entitled Bosforo Tracio may be the most-decorated Bosphorus map (Figure 13). It was included in an atlas of the Mediterranean coast and islands, entitled Atlante Veneto, published in Venice in 1688. Allegorical figures, half-human and half-fantastical, representing the four known continents of the era, have been placed in the four corners, while the remaining sections are filled with baroque floral decorations in keeping with the artistic style of the period. Coronelli, one of the most important cartographers of his era, was the official cartographer for the Republic of Venice and the founder of the world’s first geographical society, the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti.

The panoramas located in the lower part of some Istanbul maps printed during the first half of the 18th century, particularly by the era’s important publishing houses and cartographers, are remarkable. Apart from the old city within the walls, the Bosphorus and its surroundings are also included in these maps, which use panoramas of the Golden Horn, overlooking the old peninsula from the slopes of Pera.

13- Andelfinger & Seutter, map of Istanbul with the panorama of the Golden Horn, Augsburg 1735, copper print

13a- Lotter, map of Istanbul with the panorama of the Golden Horn, 1767, copper print

Compared to other bird’s-eye-view Istanbul depictions, which cannot be considered maps, plans, panoramas, or illustrations, these maps blur the distinction between maps and panoramas. They contain quite elaborate elements and show an increasing emphasis on aesthetics (Figure 14a). For this reason, it would be appropriate to view these as works of art in their own right. Another noteworthy feature, in addition to the panoramas that accompany the maps, is the cartouche—a decorative element identifying the map, created in the era’s predominant Baroque style. Sometimes combining imaginative figures with plant motifs and using symbolic elements, they, too, are works of art.

The beautiful Istanbul and Bosphorus map prepared by the engraver Johann Jacob Andelfinger and printed by Georg Matthäus Seutte (Figure 14) is typical of this trend. A magnificent panorama of the Golden Horn and Istanbul lies under the map, with the small Bosphorus and the city within the walls depicted expansively. The decorative aspect of the cartouche is noteworthy. It includes symbolic components that allude to the defeat of the Ottoman army during the 1716 Battle of Petervaradin. A small map of the Balkan Peninsula, depicting the Ottoman situation in the Balkans, is located above the map in the upper right corner. The sultan’s turban, placed in the middle of the cartouche, is surrounded by weapons, blue and red banners, and arrows, as well as an axe, mace, pike, and bannered spears. The inscription “Temesvar, Petrovaradin, Belgrade” on the turban alludes to the Battle of Petrovaradin in 1716 between the Ottomans and Austria. After this battle, which resulted in defeat for the Ottomans, the Timisoara Fortress and Belgrade were lost and the treaty of Passarowitz was signed in 1718: the Ottoman Empire entered a peaceful era that would later be referred to as the Tulip Era. With the Passarowitz Treaty, the Ottoman Empire had to accept the dominance of the West for the first time, while the West realized the Ottomans were no longer invincible. This situation is also symbolically depicted in the cartouche; the “barbarian Turk” image, which could be found in maps up to this era and particularly in maps of the Ottoman Empire, now gave way to banners, flags, and other designs.

14- Von Reben, map of Bosporus drawn based on feet scale, 1764, copper print

15- F. Kauffer – J. B. Le Chevalier, the first scientifically scaled map of Istanbul, drawn in 1786, printed in 1800

The second half of the 18th century was a time of particular change for Istanbul maps. A 1764 map of the Bosphorus printed in Nuremberg, which had a scale according to pacing calculations, was drawn up immediately before the production of the scientifically scaled map by the Hungarian engineer von Reben. It was printed in the workshop of the German cartographer Homann, while the list of important religious and civil structures on it were determined by Baron von Gudenus, of German descent. This map also demonstrates that it is possible to list and mark all the structures in a city on a map in keeping with the concept of an index. As some of the structures, organized according to structure types, no longer survive, this map also has value as a historical document (Figure 15).

The First Scientific Istanbul Map by Boundelmonti and its Aftermath

In 1786, 360 years after the first map drawn by Buondelmonti based on his personal observations, the first scientifically scaled map of Istanbul was produced (Figure 16). François Kauffer (d. 1801), a topographer and cartographer of fortified military areas and a military engineer, was part of the entourage of the French ambassador to Istanbul in 1784, Count Choiseul-Gouffier.12 In 1776, he once again attended Count Choiseul-Gouffier’s “Greek tour, created plans of the sites he visited; [and] it is known that these were published in Choiseul-Gouffier’s travelogue.”13

Count Choiseul-Gouffier was an interesting character; he arrived in Istanbul with a large entourage, including artists, cartographers, painters, and geographers. He stayed until 1791 and succeeded in his efforts to implement military cooperation between the Ottoman state and his country, France, so as to provoke Russia. Choiseul-Gouffier did not neglect his research while serving as ambassador: he had a printing press set up next to the French Palace in Pera and an observatory established in the summer palace in Tarabya.14 While everyone acted according to their talents, after the French Revolution, Kauffer was summoned back to France, together with the ambassador. Kauffer refused to return to his country, stayed in Istanbul, and entered Ottoman service. He was assigned a salary in 1792. Kauffer served in the Ottoman army for years, as both an engineer and technical illustrator. He then took on the task of renovating the Akkirman Fortress and contributed to the modernization of the Bosphorus fortresses.

16- Kaufer, the version of map of Istanbul in A. I. Melling’s Album, 1819, copper print

17- Kaufer, map of Bosporus in A. I. Melling’s Album, 1819, copper print

18- Barbie de Bocage, map of Bosporus with the ancient names of the places, Paris, 1784, copper print

19- T. Mollo, map of Bosporus, 1788, copper print

20- The map showing the terrain features of Bosporus from Guillaume Antoine Oliver’s <em>Atlas pour server au Voyage dans l’Empire Othoman</em> (Paris 1801)

Kauffer’s first map was published in Voyage de la Propontide et du Pont-Euxin, a book printed in 1800 in Paris (Figure 16). The book was published by J. B. Le Chevalier, with whom he had worked. The map was later also published in Choiseul-Gouffier’s book, which had been delayed due to the outbreak of the French Revolution. It would subsequently be published in Antoine Ignace Melling’s monumental album Voyage Pittoresque de Constantinople et du Rives du Bosphore, published in Paris in 1819. Details were added to the Kauffer map in the form of addenda made by another French cartographer, Barbié du Bocage (1760–1825).

Bocage had been appointed as the geographer and cartographer of King Louis XVI; he was one of the most active cartographers in 19th century Europe. Bocage, who created important works in his career as a cartographer, geographer, and publisher, also illustrated hundreds of maps and city plans, without visiting any of the cities. Despite this, the plans and maps were drawn correctly in terms of their general outlines, indicating that he analyzed his data and documents very well.

Bocage developed Kauffer’s maps “based on the information given by Melling, architect to the sultan (Selim III), as well as by Pouqueville, who had served a sentence in the Yedikule dungeon, and by the French engineer Le Roi, who had taken part in the construction of new war ships between 1784 and 1794.” Moreover, Bocage recorded that he also had used the information found in the book Tableau des Nouveaux Réglements de l’Empire Ottoman, written by Mahmud Raif Efendi and published in 1789; this information was useful for identifying new structures. He also turned to the observations of French engineers working in the shipyard and fortification of the Bosphorus, the French translation of Katip Çelebi’s Cihannüma, von Reben’s Bosphorus map (drawn according to pacing calculations), and information provided by his son, who had worked on the construction of the Selimiye barracks (Figure 17).15

21- Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, Istanbul, 1764, copper print

22- J. Andrews, Istanbul, 1711, copper print

The scale of the original map—which includes the Historic Peninsula, the Golden Horn, Pera/Galata, and Üsküdar—is 1:17,280, and the geographical information was collected by the French engineer Lafitta Clave, who was working for the Ottoman government. The map covers an area from the immediate outskirts of Yedikule to Beşiktaş on the European side, and from the tip of Fenerbahçe to İstavroz (Beylerbeyi) on the Asian side. In addition to settlement areas, the map also gives extremely valuable information about social and architectural features, such as land and sea routes, docks and ports, gates in the city walls, mausoleums and cemeteries of all religions, religious structures (such as mosques, masjids or prayer rooms, and churches), as well as civilian structures (such as fountains, holy springs, schools, palaces, gardens, embassy palaces, and locations where members of different religions lived).

The Bosphorus map prepared by Kauffer and published with the appendice by cartographer Barbie de Bocage (Figure 18) “includes the Black Sea coastline between Riva and Kilyos, the Anatolian coast up to Alemdağ, Pendik, the Islands, and an area that extends until Bakirköy, Davutpaşa and Cebeciköy.. This second map was prepared for the Melling’s book with a 1/100.000 scale.16

These plans, published in 1819, are important written sources on settlement patterns in Istanbul and the Bosphorus at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, as well as on the distribution of monumental structures, which changed the silhouette of the city, the new neighborhoods, and settlement areas immediately before the urban transformation that began with the declaration of the Tanzimat.

As soon as it was printed, the Kauffer plan influenced other cartographers, even becoming the starting point for maps that were published in the 19th century, and was included in many publications in different dimensions, with a few minor changes. In addition, the scales given in miles led the way to modern use of scales.

A number of Istanbul and Bosphorus maps printed in the 18th century used the names of locations from antiquity. These maps reveal not only the ancient names of areas in the city and along the Bosphorus Straits, but also the topography. The maps were based on information from Pierre Gilles’s books De Bosporo Thracio (published in 1561) and De Topographia Constantinopoleo (published in 1562). Both books were written after the author had traveled to Istanbul in 1547 to research ancient sources.

23- Hacq, map of Istanbul with a panoramic view, 1850, steel print

Barbié du Bocage’s Bosphorus map (Figure 19) is an example of maps of this sort. Moreover, by aligning the map horizontally and including the full length of the Bosphorus, Bocage created a different design with north oriented to the right. The same system can be seen in other maps that were drawn using this map as their reference—for example by T. Mollo in 1788 (Figure 20) and by Olivier, Bernard, and Sanpierdarena in 1801–1807 (Figure 21). All of these are actions aimed to ensure the character of the city and its surroundings relating to antiquity continued to circulate.

Istanbul Maps in the 19th Century

Maps of small dimensions designed from the late 18th century to the 19th century contained elegant cartouches with plant motifs and baroque curves. These form a separate category of maps in which important structures in the city are marked and explanations are written either on the map itself or in the margin closest to the depiction of the inner part of the city walls. Maps by J. N. Bellin in 1764 (Figure 22) and J. Andrews in 1771 (Figure 23) are two examples of this style.

Another type of map of small dimensions consists of smaller and simpler versions of the decorative maps designed during the first half of the 18th century, combined with panoramas of the Golden Horn (Figure 24).

During the 19th century structural elements, standing witness to tangible steps taken by Sultan Selim III (reigned 1789–1807), slowly began to appear in Istanbul’s skyline. The barracks, with their monumental dimensions, changed the skyline and borders of the city, and new settlements and neighborhoods extended past the old city walls. These changes can be tracked year by year, especially in the maps drawn after Kauffer’s work. The effects of the Westernizing trend that began in the 18th century can be seen in maps from the 19th century.

24- Necip Bey, the first city guide key plan, 1918, colored lithograph

25- Bradshaw, map of Istanbul in railway guide, 1890, lithograph

Fire insurance maps began to be created toward the end of the 19th century in response to the needs of foreign companies that came to the city for business. They were illustrated by C. Goad in 1905 and 1906, and from the 1920s onward by J. Pervitic. As they were detailed and professionally executed works created on demand and depicted individual structures, they are important evidence of the city’s architectural identity.

Distinctive maps printed by Turks using the lithographic technique began to emerge in the 19th century. These maps were generally printed at the press of the School of Engineering, Naval Academy, and Military Academy. The first city guide, printed in 1918, included Necip Bey sections and was a significant map (Figure 25).

The development of the city and its new districts, structures, architectural areas, and tram and train lines can all be traced in the maps of Istanbul, whether created in Turkey or elsewhere. In short, the appearance of the developing and expanding city is presented two-dimensionally in maps.

Maps are important vehicles in the comprehension of the physical dimensions of a city; they show, among other things, the era in which the artist lived, the technique of the age, and its aesthetic preferences. Some are noteworthy due to the cartographers who created them, others due to the story that they illustrate. Some cartographers portrayed the city after seeing it, some without ever setting foot in it, relying instead on what others had depicted. Some maps are designed like works of art, with ornamental cartouches. Times changed and the techniques varied, but the location remained the same: maps of Istanbul refer to the areas within the city walls as the “real Istanbul” and depict the Bosphorus with its geographic location. These were illustrated over and over again, with endless desire, in differing designs, all together resembling a rainbow.

26- J. R. von Scheda, Demographic map of Istanbul, Vienna, 1869, colored lithograph

27-The map of Istanbul mosques, 1917

Thematic Maps on a Single Topic

Some Istanbul maps can be seen, from today’s perspective, as illustrating a specific theme. The earliest such example, produced in 1493, deals with the lightning strike on Gümgörmez Church in Sultan Ahmet, as mentioned above (Figure 3). Thematic maps created in later centuries include a 1783 map by Tomas Lopez of the fires of 1782 (Figure 26); Luffman’s map of Istanbul ports in 1800–1803 (Figure 27); Olivier and colleagues’ 1807 map displaying the geological structure of the Bosphorus (Figure 21); and G. Bradshaw’s 1889 map in the railways guide (Figure 28). Von Scheda’s 1869 demographic map shows the city settlement areas by religious affiliation, indicating Muslim areas with pink, Christian areas with grey, and Jewish areas with yellow, and using different signs to show religious affiliations in the cemeteries (Figure 29). A 1917 map portraying the mosques in Istanbul (Figure 30) serves as an example of a map that was printed in Istanbul.


1 Doğan Kuban, “Osmanlı İstanbul Haritasını Neden Yapmadı?”, Cumhuriyet Bilim ve Teknik Dergisi, 2010, no. 2.

2 See. Kemal Beydilli, “XV. Yüzyıl Bir İtalyan Hümanistinin Gözüyle İstanbul ve Ege Adaları: Cristoforo Buondelmonti, Liber Insularum Archipelagi [Kitâb-ı Cezâ’ir-i Bahr-ı Sefîd]. Univesitäts- und Landesbibliothek Düsseldorf Ms. G 13. Faksilime. Yayınlayanlar Irmgard Siebert and Max Plassmann, Wiesbaden 2005”, Erken Kasik Dönemden XVIII. Yüzyıl Sonuna Kadar Osmanlılar ve Avrupa: Seyahat-Karşılaşma ve Etkileşim, ed. Seyfi Kenan, Istanbul: İSAM Yayınları, 2010, pp. 65-91.

3 Ayşe Yetişkin Kubilay, “Haritalardaki İstanbul ya da İstanbul Haritaları”, Akademik Araştırmalar Dergisi, 2010, Kültür Başkenti özel sayısı, pp. 317-332.

4 The most popular and well-known copies of this book, which includes a portrayal of Byzantine-era Istanbul, can be found at the Bibliotheque National in Paris and the British Museum in London. Thirty different copies are known to exist. The copies were gathered and printed for the first time in Leipzig in 1824 by Ludovicus de Sinner; the second edition was printed in 1897 in Paris by Hellenist Emile Legrand. See Stefanos Yerasimos, Les Voyageurs dans L’Empire Ottoman (XIV-XVI siécles), Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1991, p. 104.

5 Anselmo Banduri, Imperium Orientale sive Antiquitates Constantinopolitane, Paris: Typis & sumptibus Joannis Baptstae Coignard, 1711.

6 Nevra Necipoğlu, “Cristoforo Buondelmonti”, DBİst.A, II, 333-334.

7 These quotations by Spanish Ambassador Ruy Gonzales, who saw the city in 1403, were recorded in Jean Ebersolt,Bizans İstanbulu ve Doğu Seyyahları, translated by İlhan Arda, İstanbul: Pera Turizm ve Ticaret, 1999, pp. 41-44.

8 Beydilli, “XV. Yüzyıl Bir İtalyan Hümanistinin Gözüyle İstanbul”, p. 73.

9 Cosmographia is one of the oldest atlases in existence. It attracted so much attention and was in such high demand that from 1544, when it was published in German, to its last publication in 1628, it appeared in 46 editions and was translated into six languages, including the expanded editions.

10 F. Muhtar Katırcıoğlu, Yeryüzü Suretleri, Istanbul: Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat Yayıncılık, 2000, p. 86.

11 Doğan Kuban, İstanbul Bir Kent Tarihi. Bizantion, Konstantinopolis, İstanbul, İstanbul: Türkiye Ekonomik ve Toplumsal Tarih Vakfı, 1996, p. 202.

12 Doğan Kuban, “Kauffer, François”, DBİst.A, IV, 492-493.

13 Choiseul-Gouffier, Voyage Pittoresque de la Grèce, Paris 1782, vol. 1, pp. 233-243.

14 Stefanos Yerasimos, “Choiseul-Gouffier, Comte de”, DBİst.A, II, 427. For information on the printing press established in the embassy, see Kemal Beydilli, Türk Bilim ve Matbaacılık Tarihinde Mühendishâne, Mühendishâne Matbaası ve Kütüphânesi (1776-1826), Istanbul: Eren Yayıncılık, 1995, p. 125.

15 Kuban, “Kauffer, François”, IV, 332.

16 Kuban, “Kauffer, François”, IV, 492-493.

This article was translated from Turkish version of History of Istanbul with some editions to be published in a digitalized form in 2019.