Digital Collections

Cartography

The collection of old cartography – including atlases, historical maps, manuscript plot plans and blueprints – consists of valuable Lithuanian and European historic and cultural heritage objects, constantly under scrutiny of scientists and cartography enthusiasts alike. The proveniences of atlas collection show that Vilnius University Library’s cartography collection is not only the richest in Lithuania, but also one of the most unique in entire Eastern Europe. Joachim Lelewel’s (1786–1861) personal compendium of old cartography serves as the basis of this collection. His manuscript maps, especially concerning the Middle Ages, are of the utmost value. Collections bequeathed by other donors (Vincas Mincevičius and Vaclovas Dargužas, among others) are also heavy with maps and city plans of the 16th–19th centuries, depicting the world, Europe and separate regions, and created and published by famous authors and publishers of the time. The major part of manuscript cartography sources consists of land, village, town and city plans and designs. These are unique monuments of historical geography that witness the land-ownership processes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 16th–18th centuries, helping us visualise the social dynamics of the time.

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