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Countless Historical Maps Made Available Online by National Széchényi Library

Péter Cseresnyés 2020.08.30.

The National Széchényi Library is launching a new digital service called “Földabrosz.” Their ever-expanding database now contains nearly a thousand domestic and foreign maps printed before 1850. The collection of Count Ferenc Széchényi, the founder of the library, was the first to have been digitized, including several maps published in the 17th century.

One of the most exceptional pieces in the collection is the map made between 1670-82, in the last years of Hungary’s Turkish occupation, which depicts Northwest Hungary, and the border fortress line in the western part of the country, protecting Vienna.

Image via foldabrosz.oszk.hu

In addition to the European territories, foreign maps show many special landscapes from Tierra del Fuego (Fireland) through Cuba to Sumatra. The oldest piece in the selection is an historical map made in 1614 depicting ancient Greece.

But there are also graphic publications that became popular in the Netherlands in the first half of the 17th century, sometimes combining views, lifelike images, and maps with multilingual text guides, the so-called ‘newspaper maps’.  Francesco Piranesi’s long unparalleled map of Pompeii is also available for everyone to admire.

The library promised to continuously expand the diverse collection with additional maps, posters, and a small print library. Their map history blog of the same name will also be renewed and later become an integral part of the site.

Featured photo via foldabrosz.oszk.hu