Ep9: Map
April 15, 2020

Did you ever see a map in a city, other than the Google map? I did, when I shortened my walk through one of many Prague house passages. There, in a courtyard, aside a busy street, there is an old map, that is quite special.

Find the place: Map location

Listen on Spotify: Map podcast

1. It's not a map, actually
Let's make things clear from the start. What you see in this courtyard is not a map. It is something called outlook – it means that it is a side view of a city. It is as if painted from a drone, or a high hill. It is not a ground plan of a city.
2. It is Prague between 1400 and 1684
First, there is already the stone bridge of Prague over the river Vltava. And it is obvious that this is the second stone bridge with 15 arcs. This bridge was ordered by the Emperor Charles in 1357 and it was in use since about 1400. So that is the bottom time limit of the outlook.

Second, there are no statues on the bridge. Today there is 30 statues, 15 on each side of the bridge. They're there since about 1710 and the first one was placed on the bridge in 1684.

That is how I knew it was Prague from somewhen between 1400 and 1680.
3. Trace leads to Rudolf II
That's what I could make from the picture until the day I saw a picture that caught my eyes. It was in the section on the exceptional little workshop that was put together by Rudolf II, the second Holy Roman Emperor of that name.

I was pretty sure from the very first moment - this is the outlook from the hidden courtyard!
4. Georg the blogger
Georg Hoefnagel used his excellent talent and sketched down every city he visited and initially made his living by that. So you can say he was one of the first travel bloggers.

And besides that, this guy left his signature in the pedigree of cartography, a signature on a crucial page of cartography – and that is the quest of todays episode.
5. The entrance
This is the entrance from Karlova st. The "map" is hidden in the passage of the house where John Kepler (Episode 6) lived. The house was built 10 years after the outlook was drawn.

(So it's not on it.)
6. The place
This picture is taken from the place, where the map is to be found. I have never met anybody there, so it's exclusive, kind of.

The outlook-aka-map marks a milestone in map making. And that makes it special and worth a look.
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