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Ottoman manuscript chart of the Mediterranean

An anonymous cartographer (17th-18th century) recorded 842 placenames, denoting coastal towns, islands, islets, reefs, bays, capes and river estuaries of the Mediterranean basin.

A unique cartographic and geographical record (M.0313) is kept in the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation Collection [M.0313] MANUSCRIPT OTTOMAN CHART. It is a hand-drawn Ottoman map, measuring 256x112 cm, on 15 sheets of paper joined together. The map is drawn with ink and watercolour, and - according to the watermark - dates back to the last quarter of the 17th century. The place names are written in Ottoman script, and there are affixed labels on selected spots written in Italian. Certain places of importance highlighted in gold, such as the Nile and Istanbul. Mount Etna is depicted erupting. Thanks to the remarkable drawing accuracy of the anonymous cartographer, information on geophysical changes along coastlines and the height of sea level are preserved.

The following web application guides the user through an exploration of the authentic place names and their corresponding modern ones that were placed on the interactive map.

The scientific research and documentation was conducted by Agamemnon Tselikas, philologist-paleographer, Head of the Historical and Paleographic Archive of the National Bank of Greece Education Foundation, who undertook the transcription of their place names and their correspondence with the modern ones. The interactive map was created by Ph.D. candidate Evangelos Papadias, Department of Geography, Harokopio University.

The map was the subject of study and research at the 3rd International Conference of the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation. Two of the papers were published in the Conference’s volume of proceedings Mediterranean Cartographic Stories: Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Masterpieces from the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation Collection.


A search can be carried out through the 'Search for a toponym’ field (the icon with the magnifying glass). Typing (in either Greek or Latin characters) the first few letters of the place name we are looking for , we can then select one of the suggested results and the application will locate the specific point in the text. Clicking on it shows the place's international name, its modern local name and the transcription of the original. Click on the last image on the left side to reset.