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ISTANBUL: Nouveau plan de Constantinople et des environs



A rare chromolithographed plan of Istanbul with charming wrappers, printed in Zürich and published by a German book shop in Istanbul.


Chromolithographed map, originally dissected in 15 segments and mounted on paper, 63 x 73 cm (24.8 x 28.7 inches), folded in original illustrated cromolithographed wrappers 8° (Slightly age-toned, minor chips to the edges of segments, sporadic annotations in pencil, wrappers and spine slightly rubbed, but overall in a good condition).


1 in stock


A rare and highly decorative folding map of Istanbul marks not only the most known monuments of the city, but also foreign embassies, a telegraph office, French, British and Austrian post office, horse driven tramcars, hospitals and barracks. Three colours of buildings mark various neighborhoods: Muslim (dark red), Christian (brown) and Jewish (yellow). The information showcased on the map suggests, that the map was printed for Western expats in the Ottoman capital.

The wrappers are decorated with a charming orientalist title, a view of Istanbul and on the rear cover a view of the publisher’s shop on the prominent location on the Grand Rue de Pera.

The map is not dated but was probably printed around 1880. It already represents the Tünel subway, which was opened in 1875. The publisher Weiss probably closed his shop in the late 1870s or around 1880.

S. H. Weiss – A German Publisher in Istanbul

S. H. Weiss was a fine representative of an industrious international book and map dealer, who successfully connected German publishing industry with distribution at the developing Ottoman market. His store in Istanbul were specialized in selling Germany books, maps and stationeries, often printed in Germany or Switzerland exclusively for the Eastern market. The clients were numberless expats, upper class Ottomans and also Sultan himself.

Weiss was closely connected with the Leipzig book trade, concentrated around the book fair, and was first employed as the official commission-agent for Koehler Brothers in Istanbul and later, in the 1860 and 1870, shared his first premises with them on 323 Grand Rue de Pera, selling maps, stationaries and foreign literature.

In 1870s he was occupying a shop at 477 Grand Rue de Pera, across the street of the Russian Embassy.

Later Weiss’s store, depicted on our map, was located on a prominent location in the third shop on the left-hand side of the entrance of the Swedish embassy, at 481 Grand Rue de Pera (for details please see sheet 36 of the insurance plan of Istanbul by Charles E. Goad from 1905: 36 : Constantinople vol. II Pera / Chas. E. Goad | Gallica (bnf.fr)), today approximately on the location of 237 Istiklal, occupied by Turkish-German Bookstore & Café.

It is unclear, when S. H. Weiss closed his business, but probably in the late 1870s, as he did not survive the global depression (Gabriele 2018).

A Note on Rarity

The map is extremely rare, especially in the West, as it was only sold in Istanbul for a short period of time. We could only trace three institutional examples in Western libraries (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Aargauer Kantonsbibliothek, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities).

References: OCLC 732277562, 1040270987, 80033612. Cf.: Alberto Gabriele, The Grand Tour and the North-South Axis of the Nineteenth Century Book TradeThe Pan-European Trade of Foreign-Language Editions and the Forces of Incorporation that Reshaped the Industry, Mémoires du livre / Studies in Book Culture, Volume 10, no. 1, 2018 (on line source: https://id.erudit.org/iderudit/1055402ar).

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