Map of Buda and Pest, 1617
This is a map of the cities Buda and Pest created by Georgius Houfnaglius and printed in a book called Civitates Orbis Terrarum (cities of the world), a collection of maps from cities all over Europe. The text on the map is written in Latin. The map includes a key describing the major sites of the city.
The map shows a small city surrounded by a wall that is labelled “Pest.” Across the Danube River is a fortress and the palace. On the right there are many buildings, including many domes, towers, and streets that are not surrounded by a wall. Beyond the cities is a landscape of hills, forests, and farm land. In the foreground are two large figures: one is dressed in elaborate clothing and wearing a large turban; the other is dressed in animal skins and wearing a feather headdress. Both the figures are carrying weapons.
The map has a decorative border and includes two cartouches (text boxes) one above and one below the map. The text above the map reads: “Buda, capital of Hungary and ancestral seat of the king, called Ofen in German.” The text beneath the map refers to the location of different sites including the fortress, the royal palace, a church that became a mosque, and vineyards. The text also refers to:
A barbaric tribe among the Turks, fearless and ready to commit any atrocity; they are commonly known as the Deli. They stick feathers through the skin on their heads, which makes them appear even more bloodthirsty.
The figure on the right of the foreground is probably a man from this tribe.
This map was created when Buda and Pest were under Ottoman rule, which explains the turban of the figure on the left. Jews were already living in Budapest at the time that this map was created. In 1526, when the Ottoman ruler arrived in Buda with his army, representatives of the Jewish community met him, begged for his grace, and handed him the keys of the deserted castle as token of their submission. Nevertheless, the majority of the Jews of Buda were exiled to other cities of the Ottoman Empire. In Sofia, for example, there was a community of so-called “Ungarus” (Hungarian) Jews. The Jewish community in Buda was restablished in 1541, and despite the heavy taxes, they became the largest and most influential community in Hungary. In 1686, the Austrians captured the city from the Turks, killing the half of the Jewish community who had sided with the Turks and banishing the rest. In 1783, Jews were once again permitted to return to the city.
Civitates Orbis Terrarum was the first book of its kind, with maps of the cities of the world.
This map can be used by Geography teachers when discussing ancient maps and the evolution of cities from the Middle Ages to modern times.
History teachers can use this resource to examine the relationship of Europeans to the Ottoman Empire and the historical context of this map.
Jewish Studies can show this map when discussing the Jewish history of Budapest.
This map can also be shown in Art lessons as an example of maps as an art form.
What is this?
What are the main geographical features of this place?
Describe the cities in the map: the buildings, architectural styles, roads, transportation, people, etc.
Describe the clothing worn by the two men in the foreground.
What language is used?
What do the letters represent?
Reading Between the Lines
The title of the map shows that it is a map of Buda, and the name Pest appears next to a walled settlement on the other side of the river. When did the two places join to become Budapest?
What do the words “Oriens” and “Occidens” on the top and bottom of the map mean?
What is the name of the river that runs through Budapest?
Which other countries does the river pass through? How would this have affected the economy of the city?
The men pictured on the map are dressed very differently. One is dressed in a turban and long ornate robes and is holding a sceptre, while the other is wearing a feather headpiece, a shorter dress, and a fur cape and is holding an pickaxe and wearing a sword. Where do you think each of these men are from? Who might they be? Read this to find out.
Some areas on the map are surrounded by walls, and others are not.
Why do you think this might be?
This map was a part of a collection of maps printed in 1617 in a book called Civitates Orbis Terrarium (cities of the world).
Search the NLI map collection using the name of the editor, Frans Hogenberg, and compare this map to maps of other cities in the collection. What are some similarities and differences?
While this is an ancient map, there are some similarities to modern maps. What are these similarities?
Have you been to Budapest? If so, what were your impressions of the city?
If notresearch the city online.
Search the internet for ancient maps of your city or another city in your country.
If you cannot find such a map, search for a map of another city you have visited.
Compare this map to the map of Budapest. What are the similarities or differences?
After looking at a few of the maps in the Hogenberg collection, create a map of your city map using some of the same features: the border, the use of people in the foreground of the map, a key, etc.