Istanbul/Istanbul City Wall in 1422 Map and 1922 Map
This map is the oldest surviving map of Istanbul. It was drawn by Cristoforo Buondemonti, an Italian monk and traveler, in 1422, when the city was still under the government of Byzantine Empire.
One of the features of the map is that the City Wall is exaggerated so that becomes significant and remarkable. The Constantinople Wall was essential to the city. Like City Walls worldwide, it defined the city boundary and helped control the people. Known to the world as impregnable, its strong defence system saved the city many times from foreign invasions. Besides military function, the wall was also crucial in symbolic meanings. It was meant to impress the visitors and manifest how glorious the “New Rome” was. It was more than a defensive boundary but also a propaganda of the city.
While in the map of 1922, although most of the City Wall was still there, we can hardly see that in the map. The city wall no longer played a necessary role in the city and became ignored in the modern time.
G. Gerola, “Le vedute di Costantinopoli di Cristoforo Buondemonti,” SBN 3 (1931): 247–79.
Map of Istanbul. 1922. Pusey Library Archives Harvard. Available at : http://hum54-15.omeka.fas.harvard.edu/items/show/1644