Jerusalem in Old Maps and Views
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 Jerusalem in Old Maps and Views


The Madaba Map is the oldest detailed cartographic document in the word. Made about the year 565 CE from over two million colored stone cubes, the map formed the mosaic floor of a Byzantine church in the biblical town of
Medeba, today Madaba in Jordan. It depicted the Holy land from Lebanon in the north to Egypt in the south. Jerusalem, the Holy City, constitutes the earliest urban mapping known.
The Peutinger Map was discovered in Germany in 1507 as a long and narrow parchment scroll. It is clear that the map was made in the 12th or 13th century as an apparently exact copy of an ancient road map, now lost,
which portrayed the Roman Empire in the fourth century, with paved roads clearly visible. Jerusalem is prominently marked "Formerly called Hierusalem, [now] Helya capitolina", with the Mount of Olives nearby.

The 10th and 11th centuries were the era of the "Atlas of Islam" - collections of maps which usually included representations of 17 Islamic countries. The Arabs never regarded the Land of Israel, which they called Falastin, as a distinct geographical or political unit, and mapped it as an integral part of ash-Sham, Syria, as in the example shown here. Jerusalem is represented by one of the circles in the upper part of the map (which is directed towards the south-west and is named Bayt al-Maqdas (Hebrew: Bet haMiqdash, the Temple).

   "PSALTER MAP"  (ca.  1225)
The Psalter Map (named after the book of Psalms in which is was found) is characteristic of mediaeval mappae mundi, world maps, elucidating the writings of the Church fathers rather than geography. Jerusalem is indicated in the center of the map (and of the world) and around it appears, relatively much enlarged, the Holy Land, with the Dead Sea, the rivers Jor and Dan which unite to form the Jordan, as well as Jericho, Caesarea, Akko and other towns.

Press for print versionPrint version
Send To Friend