BBC Learning Zone Clips

CLIP 10341

Constantinople city view, 1576

Constantinople city view, 1576
Key Info
  • Constantinople city view, 1576
  • Duration: 01:45
  • From the series 'The Beauty of Maps', the Constantinople City View Map of 1576 is explored. Today the city is known as Istanbul. This map is a statement of power and position of the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. It is a fine merger of cartography and colourful art, giving the audience of its day a much richer experience of how the city looked. It shows the location of buildings and gives the impression, even in the 16th century, of a dense population and busy city. The map shows beautiful illustrations of its buildings and its inhabitants, including a drawing of the Ottoman ruler, Suleiman the Magnificent, himself. It also includes 12 ancestor Ottoman rulers, stressing the importance and supposed permanence of the ruling family. As a map it is considered a renaissance masterpiece by Braun and Hogenberg. Even so, they never visited the city and used the evidence of written reports, other maps and drawings from a 100 year period of time in which to produce their 'version'. The map also shows what is important to Constantinople at this time – trade ships, tall buildings and strength. These maps, using the new copper plate techniques of re-colouring after printing, were very popular among the middle-classes who bough them as works of art. This clip was first published on the 'The Beauty of Maps' website, Please note this clip is only available in Flash.
  • Subject:



    History Skills

  • Keywords: BeautyOfMaps, Constantinople, Ottoman empire, empire, Braun and Hogenberg, map, church, state, power, faith, religion, Christianity, geography, Turkey, Suleiman, Suleyman, Renaissance, interpretation
Ideas for use in class
  • What does a map try to say about the city? Credibility Exercise: how useful is a map of a city that was put together using other maps and written pieces describing the city? Is this a fair interpretation of the city of Constantinople? Cross curricular: economics, art, citizenship, history, geography
Background details
  • Clip language : English
  • Aspect ratio : 16x9

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