Ottoman Cartography: Mecca, the Hejaz and the Hajj

Dakhilih nazarataa 'umur muhaliyh wilayat [Interior Ministry for Vilayets]. Wilayat yawlalaa kharituh sydur [Road Maps of the Vilayets].

Istanbul, Dahiliye Nezareti Umur-Mahalliye-i Vilâyat Müdiriyeti, Hilâl Matbaas, 1329 Rumi Calendar [1913].

Large 4to (260 x 328 mm). 26 bi-chrome lithographed double-page maps (each 485 x 315 mm), with 48 sheets of interleaved text, all contents unnumbered and entirely in Ottoman Turkish. Original half black cloth over red boards with cover bearing the title and the Tughra of Sultan Mehmed V Reshad in gilt.


This is one of the rarest and most extraordinary works of late Ottoman cartography, produced by the Interior Ministry at the behest of the "Young Turks" regime on the eve of World War I. Published with text entirely in Ottoman Turkish, the atlas consists of 26 double-page maps, all of an extraordinary proto-modernist design, accompanied by detailed text explaining all of the road itineraries depicted. All of the maps are original productions, predicated upon the latest official sources supplied by both state engineers and private contractors. Of the maps, eight focus exclusively upon subjects from the Arab world, including a dedicated map of the Hejaz (with the Hejaz Railway and pilgrimage routes), as well as a map focussing upon Mecca and Jeddah. The atlas provides by far and away the most comprehensive and accurate record of the road system throughout the Ottoman Empire, taken in the wake of an unprecedented wave of infrastructure development. Additionally, while not part of the technical remit of the work, the maps also provide a stellar overview of the Ottoman railway system, including the Hejaz Railway and the in-progress Anatolian-Baghdad Railway. The atlas therefore gives the most authoritative historical accounts of the technical nature of the empire’s key corridors of military and commercial movement, as well as the most important routes of the Hajj Pilgrimage, during a critical historical juncture.

Internally remarkably clean and crisp, just some light natural oxidization of the original glue along the gutters of some leaves and light even toning to text pages, plus a few negligible stains, but overall in a very good condition.

Özege 22737. Türkiye Diyanet Vakfý - Ýslâm Araþtýrmalarý Merkezi (ÝSAM) [Turkey Diyanet Foundation - Centre for Islamic Studies, Istanbul] 912.95607 VÝL.Y. Dâhiliye Nezareti Umur-i Mahalliye ve Vilayat Müdürlügü Evraki [Archives of the Turkish Interior Ministry, Ankara] DH UMVM 74/31. Istanbul Büyüksehir Belediyesi Atatürk Kitapligi [Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Atatürk Library] 23589. OCLC 51297423 (listing the work, but not citing the locations of any examples).

Citations in recent academic publications: E. Erol, The Ottoman Crisis in Western Anatolia: Turkey’s Belle Epoque and the and the Transition to a Modern Nation State (London, 2016), pp. 73 & 301. A. Kisa, "II. Mesrutiyet Dönemi’nde Bitlis Vilayeti’nde Karayollari" [Highways in Bitlis Province During the Second Constitutional Era], Tarih ve Gelecek Dergisi, Aralik 2019, Cilt 5, Sayi 3 [Journal of History and the Future, December 2019, Vol. 5, Issue 3], pp. 702-711, esp. pp. 707-708.