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1836 Moscow.

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Date: 1836 (Published) London

Dimensions: 13 x 14 inches (35.6 x 38 cm)

This attractive map of Moscow, Russia, was published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, also referred to as SDUK. The map provides a highly detailed bird’s eye view of the city as it was in 1836. Located on the banks of Moscow River, next to which the Kremlin sits, the city is depicted so accurately that it would be possible to use it today for navigating much of the city centre.

Historically speaking, after its founding in the 12th century CE by Rurikid prince, Yuri Dolgoruky, the city grew rather rapidly considering the enormous obstacles faced by its inhabitants. By the time Yuri’s son Ivan became Grand Prince, the city was thriving and the Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church had moved the seat of its See from the city of Wladimir to Moscow.

Moscow’s environs were typically wetlands, difficult to drain, and home to myriad disease carrying insects. Despite these conditions, with its wooden kremlin (meaning fortress in Russian) at its centre, which was replaced by the brick one extant today with its famous toothed walls, the city continued to grow, maintaining its circular shape, with city walls built and extended from time to time to protect its ever increasing populace.

The map clearly depicts some of these early walls, and delineates some primary routes of transportation which exist to this day. The inner circle road around the oldest part of the city, which is situated north of the river, is easily identifiable as is the so-called Garden Ring which encircles a larger area of the city. The old outer walls with their gates are outlined in red.

The Kremlin’s major buildings are depicted and named, as are major streets, smaller ones and even lanes and byways. Convents and monasteries, government buildings such as barracks and munitions powder magazine are shown. In the upper left quadrant an image of the marvelous Saint Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square is depicted. Below the map is a view of the beautiful Novodevechy Convent, where Peter the Great kept his sister imprisoned for her insurrection. Today the area covered by this map forms the very centre of the modern sprawling megalopolis which is home to more than 12.5 million.

The SDUK was founded in 1828 by Henry Peter Brougham, an idealistic British nobleman. The aim of the society was to promote self-education and egalitarian sharing of knowledge by providing instruments of learning such as maps and various other publications. Despite being affiliated with London University and various major publishing houses, the Society ultimately failed to achieve its goal as the publications were too costly for the targeted middle to lower class echelons of British society. At the same time, its publications were not grand enough or fine enough to appeal to the aristocracy. 

Condition: This map is in A condition with original hand coloring on clean paper with a sharp print impression. Some light toning is apparent along the outer-margins.

Inventory #12325

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