From: "Alfred Moldovan, MD" <al(at)>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2007
Subject: [MapHist] Jerusalem view (Ulrich Prefat map)

In Issue Number 24 of the Map Collector, September, 1983, I discussed “The Lost De Angelis Map of Jerusalem, 1578.” The map can be seen on the JNUL Jerusalem Map Site Until recently, it had been my belief that this was the first time that a map of Jerusalem had been made by an on-site observer, Antonio de Angelis, a Franciscan monk who had been sent to Jerusalem in 1570 for just that purpose by the Vatican. The Franciscans were responsible for guiding the Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem and for maintaining a hospice. The map that De Angelis made was printed in Rome in 1578, and disappeared until it came into my possession. I have theorized that it disappeared so quickly because the Franciscans in charge of guiding the pilgrims didn’t want the pilgrims to be able to do so without their assistance.

My prior research had concluded that all the maps and views of Jerusalem prior to the 1578 De Angelis were imaginary. The JNUL Jerusalem site shows about 25 maps and views created prior to the De Angelis. These are either fully fanciful or based on the description by Flavius Josephus. The only exception is the woodcut map made by Erhard Reuwich when he accompanied Bernard von Breydenbach on his journey to the Holy Land. This was published in Mainz, Sanctarum peregrinationum in Montem Syon. Mainz, 1486.

While researching a Czeck manuscript map of Jerusalem also in the Moldovan Family Collection, I have come to question the validity of my prior conclusion. Our manuscript map appears to be a copy of the Jerusalem view in Adam Reissner’s Ierusalem, vetustissima illa et celeberrima totius mundi, published in Frankfurt, 1563, between pp. 24 and 25. Our manuscript map can be found on the JNUL Jerusalem map site at where they list the Reissner views.

The index to the map is in Czech. In researching the possible origin of the map, I started looking for possible Czech sources. In Reinhold Rohricht’s Geographica Palestinae 1963 reprint he refers on page 186 to a voyage by Ulrich Prefat von Wikanau, a Czech nobleman who journeyed to the Holy Land in 1546. His chronicle of the journey was published in 1563 and republished in 1586 and 1787. The title in translation reads:

“Prague citizen (burgher) Oldrich Prefat from Vlkan (a city or area) who was born on the 12th of May 1523 achieved a number of foreign trips, wrote a travelogue about his pilgrimage to Palestine (and in the year 1563 published it). Trip from Prague to Venice and afterwards by sea to Palestine, (something) through the countryside to the Jewish Holy Land, to the city of Jerusalem to the lord’s tomb. And with the help of G-d Oldrich Prefat returned in peace to Vykon in the year of our lord 1546.”

Travel writing was a strong area throughout this period. Accounts of journeys to Palestine were supplied in the late 15th century by Martin Kabátník, a member of the Brethren sent to look for original Christianity, and Jan Hasitejnský z Lobkovic. Another account of such a journey, with famous sea descriptions, was written in the 16th century by the observant and scientifically minded Oldøich Prefát z Vlkanova. Ulrich Prefat von Wilkanau (1523 – 1565) was the son of a Czech nobleman. He studied first in Prague from 1540 to 1542 and at the academies in Wittenberg, Leipzig, Ingolstadt and Venice and in 1550 mathematics in Rome. In 1546 Prefat left Prague on a horse to Venice. In Venice he took a four masted ship to Corfu, Zakynothos, Crete, Cyprus and Jaffa. From Jaffa he rode donkeys to Jerusalem. On his way back he traveled to Rome, Ancona and Spanish Compostela. On his return he published the chronicle of his journey as “Essay on the Holy Land” “Passage from Prague to Venice and from there by sea all the way to Palestine, that is into a country once Jewish, Holly land, to the city of Jerusalem and God’s grave. This passage happily accomplished, with the help of God, Voldrich Preffat of Vlkanov in 1546” He also wrote “Many Jews dwell in Jerusalem and there is a special street of the Jews.”

Accompanying Ulrich was a Venetian artist, Domenico de le Greche, who is described in Thema Becker as a painter and woodcut artist. De le Greche made the woodcut map of Jerusalem on his return from the journey with Ulrich Prefat from “observations made on site.” His inscription on the map reads:

“True and sure Conterfect or the depiction of the present town of Jerusalem with its emplacement as it was in the year of 1546. It was painted by Master Dominic, the pilgrim of the Greek-catholique church (Mirek: or Greek pilgrim), the Venetian painter, in the same summer on June 24, and now printed in the work of Woldøich Prefat in the summer of 1563.”

The 4 editions of the Ulrich’s book ,1547 quarto, 1563 folio, 1586, and 1787 octavo, are nowhere to be found catalogued in any on-line catalogue in the U.S., Europe or Israel. The librarian of the Czech National Library supplied me with information of some copies in their possession. In 1947 in Prague the book was reprinted, a copy of this reprint was obtained from the Yale University library. From this reprint I was able to copy the 40cm x 20cm map folded into the volume. The librarian at the Czech National Library advised me that the dimensions in their copy of the map is 61cm x 31cm. (probably from the 1563 folio edition).

Although my investigation in to the Prefat-Greche view sheds no light on the source of our manuscript, it has lead me to the conclusion that the Prefat-Greche view precedes the De Angelis Map as the first map made from an actual visit and drawing.

Alfred Moldovan, MD
444 Central Park West
New York, NY 10025
Tel. 212.865.2828
Fax: 212.865.3111

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