Jerusalem in maps

Authored by: Rehav Rubin

Routledge Handbook on Jerusalem

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138936935
eBook ISBN: 9781315676517
Adobe ISBN:


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As a city revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Jerusalem has been depicted on legions of maps. Its first known cartographic representation is a sixth-century mosaic that was unearthed in 1881 in Madaba (today in Jordan). There is also a large number of cartographic representations in a variety of forms and shapes dating from the Middle Ages. With the advent of the printing press, the dawn of the Enlightenment, and the concomitant growth in Biblical exegesis, the city merited a steady uptick in the number of maps. Interestingly, until the late nineteenth century, only a few of these maps were created by Jews or Muslims. The vast majority was the handiwork of European-born Christian cartographers, most of whom never set foot in the Holy Land. Aside from offering some realistic semblances of Jerusalem, all of these pre-modern maps reflect the heartfelt wishes of their makers as well as their ideological, historical, and theological outlooks. Since the early 1800s and with the advent of survey-based mapping, new maps of Jerusalem started to appear, and the improvements in surveying precision and techniques in subsequent decades gave rise to accurate maps that we have today.

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