Istanbul 2020 – Florence 2021

Travelers, Cartographers and Archaeologists

8th International Symposium on the History of Cartography
German Archaeological Institute (DAI), Istanbul, Turkey
21-23 April 2020

In 2020, the worldwide pandemic forced a late cancellation of the symposium. As an alternative, authors of accepted presentations were encouraged to submit full papers on their work for publication in an open access proceedings volume, which can be found here: The volume also contains a preface by commission chair Imre Demhardt, with the full story on the course the symposium took from spring 2020 to the summer of 2021.

To catch up on the postponed symposium a similarly themed workshop was organised linked to the 30th International Cartographic Conference in Florence (Italy) on 13 December 2021. You can find the full programme with links to the abstracts here.


Since its massive expansion under Sultans Selim I (1512-20) and Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-66), the Ottoman Empire extended from the Algerian shores to Georgia in the Caucasus and from Hungary in the heart of Europe to Yemen on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Albeit in a long decline thereafter, the core of this multi-cultural conglomerate survived into the early 20th century, before it finally disintegrated after World War I. Throughout these five centuries, the Ottomans deeply influenced these heterogeneous countries with at times closer or looser ties to the metropolis Constantinople, leaving a multi-faceted cartographic legacy behind.

The symposium focused on two main themes:

1) Cartography of the Ottoman Countries in Europe, Asia and Africa

  • Ottoman cartography (maps and charts, city and cadastral plans, thematic maps)
  • Foreign cartography of Ottoman countries
  • Geodesy and surveying methods developed under Ottoman rule and by foreign cartographers working in these areas
  • The impact of the military on the development of cartography
  • Cartographic collections in the former Ottoman countries and around the world

2) Mapping Archaeological Sites, Landscapes and Excavations in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th and 20th Centuries

  • Technical and conceptual development of archaeological cartography, from the earliest site plans to the introduction of GIS and 3D reconstructions
  • Dichotomy between “accurate” cartographic representation and archaeological interpretation when mapping manmade artefacts, features and landscapes
  • Relationship between cartography, archaeology and the military


A list of accepted presentations can be found here.



The venue would have been the Library of the DAI at the Consulate General of Germany, located in the heart of Istanbul, next to Taksim Square.