An imaginary chapel from 1575

This map comes from Braun and Hogenberg’s groundbreaking atlas Civitates Orbis Terrarum, the first book dedicated to mapping the world’s cities.

The bird’s-eye view shows many familiar Cambridge landmarks (and fishermen rather than today’s punters on the Cam). There are errors – a misshapen King’s College Chapel is attached to a court which never existed. With 545 other towns and cities in the six volumes it’s not surprising that the mapmakers made some mistakes.

People in the foreground are modelling fashionable English clothing. Braun feared the Ottomans would use his maps to plan attacks on Europe. He also believed Muslims were forbidden to look at images of people, and so included illustrations of people to foil Turkish spies.


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