Historic Piri Reis map in novel display in Istanbul

Piri Reis and His Maps makes possible a comparison between Piri Reis and his contemporary peers and also offers a look at technological advancements of his era

Historic Piri Reis map in novel display in Istanbul

The Naval Museum in Istanbul's Besiktaş district on Friday unveiled a special exhibition, marking the 500th anniversary of Ottoman admiral and cartographer Piri Reis's famous world map.

Instead of offering a mere presentation of the historic map, “Piri Reis ve Haritaları” (Piri Reis and His Maps) makes possible a comparison between Piri Reis and his contemporary peers and also offers a look at technological advancements of his era.

The exhibition is accompanied by a short film and a specially designed chartroom where visitors can watch the seas navigated by Piri Reis in an animated projection.

Marked in Turkey as the Year of Piri Reis, 2013 has seen numerous cultural events themed around the Ottoman admiral who lived during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. But none of the exhibitions held since the beginning of the year have had this much to offer to visitors.

The interactive show, co-curated by Hasan Mert Kaya and Sinan Ceco, is on display on the second floor of the museum. It begins with an eight-minute short film that recounts the life story of Piri Reis, narrated by actor Ahmet Mumtaz Taylan.

Piri Reis drew maps and charts describing around 2,000 ports and coastal cities surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, which are collected in his “Kitab-ı Bahriye” (Book of Navigation). Fifty of his maps from “Kitab-ı Bahriye” are displayed side by side with recent satellite images of the locations Piri Reis charted in the second section, offering an entertaining and informative exhibit-viewing experience. There, visitors can also compare Piri Reis's achievements with his contemporaries such as Christopher Columbus and Gerardus Mercator.

The biggest challenge in the world map Piri Reis drew in 1513, part of which was discovered in 1929 at the Topkapı Palace, was that “no one was able to understand where Asia, Europe or Africa were situated on that map,” according to the show's curators. But the third section of the exhibition, which brings together the 500-year-old map with state of the art technology, aims to solve that problem.

“For this section, we digitalized Piri Reis's world map and had it spread over a 180-square-meter area. We designed two separate [visual] themes that each run for 60 seconds; one is the image of the map and the other is the image of the ocean. By projecting these [visuals] to the floor, the ceiling and the walls at the same time, we recreated the seas and the ships where Piri Reis spent his entire life inside the museum,” the curators said.

Following the end of 2013, the exhibition will be added to the permanent collection of the Naval Museum in Beşiktaş.

Cihan

Last Mod: 26 Ekim 2013, 13:16
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