This unique pair of late Ottoman cartography using bird’s eye views, probably drawn on the field, was made during the Balkan Wars, possibly in 1912, on the Albanian-Montenegrin border close to Shkodra.
The first view with the lake in the middle, is made from the Albanian side and shows the town Hani I Hotit on the north-east bay of the Shkodra Lake with hills on the eastern part in the front. It overlooks the hills on the Montenegrin border on the opposite side across the bay Sunji Ploč. The view marks the positions of the Turkish camps, cannons and a port, the pink lines show the Ottoman battle lines and the blue ones the ones of the rebels. The fortress on the left-hand side on the Montenegrin part is here marked as sieged by the Ottomans in 1911 (1327 AH).
The title says, that the view shows the 3rd regiment, dispatched from Istanbul, which was protecting the area for 45 days, until it was called back to Shkodra.
The other view, made at the same time by the same hand, showcases the area north-east from the previous, around the village of Rrapshë in Albania, just before today’s so called Rrapsh serpentine, a steep hill overlooking the Albanian mountains and plateaus, with the Montenegrin border just behind the mountains on the left-hand side. Marked are again Turkish camps, positions in the mountains and mountain passes.
The maps were probably made during the Siege of Shkodër, 28nd October 1912 and 23rd April 1913, when Montenegrin forces defeated the Ottoman forces and attacked Shkodër in Albania, which pronounced independence on 28 November 1912. Serbian and Montenegrin armies eventually occupied most of northern and central Albania, but only shortly after the London Conference of Ambassadors compelled them to evacuate Shkodër.
The par of maps offers a unique insight of the late Ottoman military cartography, based on surveying and perspective with modern techniques, only introduced to the Ottoman military training in the late 19th century.
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