CYRILLOVS FIRST ATLAS OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE AS A UNIQUE MONUMENT OF THE 18TH CENTURY RUSSIAN CARTOGRAPHY

L. Kildushevskaya1, M Orlov2

1 - National library of Russia

2 - Federal agency of Geodesy and Cartography

kildush@nlr.ru

The atlas is based on the materials of the First State National Mapping began in 1720 and conducted right after Peter the Greats Decree. Ivan Cyrillov the Senate Chief-Secretary led the survey activities. A grandiose idea leaped in his mind was to publish a three-volume Atlas of Russia with 360 maps based on the survey results. However, for those times the project was unrealizable. Cyrillov managed to publish only about forty maps. They formed a collection, which was actually the first printing atlas of the Russian Empire though the collection did not cover the overall country territory. Five specimens of the atlas kept safe in all (at the national Library of Russia in St Petersburg, in Moscow, in Irkutsk and Paris). Several museums and libraries possess separate specimens of the maps. Among them, the first General Map of Russia is of particular importance. Cyrillov compiled it in 1734. It was the first correctly representation of the country from the Baltic Sea up to the Pacific Ocean.

All mentioned atlas specimens differ in their structure and are true cartographic rare specimens.

The specialist launched the reissuing project to save this unique edition of national cartography. To do this one had to solve a number of problems:

  • To gain copies of all surviving maps being kept at different institutions, i.e. to reconstruct the complete atlas and to issue its recorded copy, the General Map included
  • To pay a particular attention to the General Map that differs from the atlas because it was published in Latin and translated by us into Russian
  • To develop a volume of scientific comments including biographical facts of I.I. Cyrillov, the history of the atlas-making process and detailed description of each map

A scientific group of St Petersburg and Moscow scientists has been formed to carry out the project.