An Early Map of Budapest Locating The "Ghetto delli Hebrei" (Jewish Ghetto)
An extremely rare map of the towns of Buda and Pest, three years prior to the Siege of Buda in 1686 finally retook the two cities from the Ottoman Empire, following 145 years of Ottoman Rule (1541-1686).
The map shows the two towns on the eve of the Siege of Buda in 1686, which would radically alter the towns' populations.
The key locates the important places within the town, with the Jewish Ghetto appearing on the waterfront in Pest, just above the bridge.
At the top right corner, a view of Buda is shown, from the far side of the River.
Siege of Buda
Following the Ottoman failure in the Second Siege of Vienna, which started the Great Turkish War, Emperor Leopold I saw the opportunity for a counter-strike and the re-conquest of Hungary, so that the Hungarian capital Buda could be regained from the Ottomans. With the aid of Pope Innocent XI, the Holy League was formed on March 5, 1684, with King Jan Sobieski of Poland, Emperor Leopold I and the Republic of Venice agreeing to an alliance against the Turks. However, the Holy League's first attempt on Buda ended in defeat, the Austrians and their allies having to withdraw with great losses after 108 days of besieging the Ottoman-held city.
Following the Ottoman failure in the Second Siege of Vienna, which started the Great Turkish War, Emperor Leopold I saw the opportunity for a counter-strike and the re-conquest of Hungary, so that the Hungarian capital Buda could be regained from the Ottomans. With the aid of Pope Innocent XI, the Holy League was formed in March 1684, with King Jan Sobieski of Poland, Emperor Leopold I and the Republic of Venice agreeing to an alliance against the Turks.
In 1686, a force of up to 100,000 German, Hungarian, Croat, Dutch, English, Spanish, Czech, Italian, French, Burgundian, Danish and Swedish soldiers, and other Europeans launched a new offensive. The Turkish defenders consisted of 7,000 men. By the middle of June 1686 the siege had begun. On July 27 the Holy League's army started a large-scale attack, which was repulsed. A Turkish relief army arrived at Buda in the middle of August led by Grand Vizier Sarı Süleyman Paşa, but the besieged Ottoman forces, led by commander Abdurrahman Abdi Arnavut Pasha, were unable to mount any offensive and he was shortly afterwards killed in action.
Following the victory, over 3,000 Turks were killed by imperial troops, with the violence directed not only against the Muslims, but also against the Jewish population of Buda. As subjects of the Ottoman Empire, the Jews had fought side-by-side with the Turks, and were considered their allies. After the conquest of the city, the Jewish community of Buda, which at its height had numbered 3,000 persons, was almost completely destroyed. Approximately half of the city's 1,000 Jews were killed, hundreds of Jews and 6,000 Muslims were captured to be sold as slaves or held for ransom as a "punishment" for their loyalty to the Ottoman Turks. The homes and properties of the Jews were looted and destroyed. The Reformation Hungarian Protestants advocated the complete removal of the Jewish population of Hungary. Most of the Jews remaining in Buda, as well as most of those in the rest of Hungary, left with the retreating Turks. The captured ones were sent to Vienna, Pozsony or Mikulov. The mosques and minarets of Buda were destroyed and three synagogues were burned, along with numerous valuable books, by the Army of the Holy Roman Empire.
The map is exceedingly rare. We have been unable to locate any examples of the separate map on the market and only a single reference to the map bound into Rossi's Teatro della guerra contro il Turco, published in Rome in 1688, although the dating on this map suggests that it was engraved well prior to the publication of Rossi's book.
OCLC locates only the copy in the British Library, in the King George III Collection. We note also a copy in the Budapest City Archives (on-line).
Giacomo Giovanni Rossi (1627-1691) was an Italian engraver and printer. He worked in Rome, the heir to an important printing business founded by his father, Giuseppe de Rossi (1570-1639). Giuseppe began the press in 1633 and Giovanni and his brother, Giandomenico (1619-1653) took it over upon his death. The brothers expanded the business and by the mid-seventeenth century it was the best-known printing house in Rome.
For his maps, Giovanni worked with Giacomo Cantelli da Vignola. They produced the Atlas Mercurio Geografico. The first edition is undated, but the second was issued in 1692, a year after Giovanni’s death. The maps were by Cantelli. The firm also published maps based on those of Nicolas Sanson.
Later, the business passed to Lorenzo Filippo (1682-?). By 1738, the firm was known as Calcografia Camerale, then, from 1870 to 1945, as the Regia Calcografica. Today, the firm is still in business and is called Calcografia Nazionale. It operates as a free museum and offers one of the best collections of prints and plates in the world.