Back to Historic Cities Main Page
| Historic Cities Main Page | Search By A-Z | Search By Year | Search By MapMaker |

Maps on our Site

Bernhard von Breydenbach


Perhaps the earliest printed book in which the topographic contents are significant for their general accuracy is the Peregrinatio in Terram Sanctam, 1486.

Bernhard von Breydenbach, a wealthy canon of the cathedral at Mainz, who journeyed to the holy land in 1483-4, compiled it. The book's map of Palestine includes an enlarged illustration of the galley in which he traveled, placed appropriately at the arrival point, the port of Jaffa.

Breydenbach was accompanied by Erhard Reuwich, an artist from Utrecht, who is referred to in the text as the author of the map and the six views of Mediterranean towns: Iraklion, Modoni, Rhodes and Venice-all of which are folding-and the single-page views of Corfu and Parenzo. Third of the map of Palestine is occupied by map of Jerusalem.

The Peregrinatio was the first illustrated travel book to be printed. It also broke new ground with the Palestine map and the four large views, which are the first folding plates to appear in a printed book. Reuwich is also the first illustrator to be named in print and his prospects are considered to be the earliest authentic printed town views

Reuwich at his own house in Mainz printed the first three editions of the Peregrinatio during the period 1486-8. He is not known to have printed any other books.

Despite the vulnerability of woodblocks, it seems clear from the fact that Breydenbach's account was published successively in Mainz, Lyons, Speier, and Zaragoza, with its maps and views printed from the identical woodblocks, that these same blocks traveled right across Europe.


    1. Ronald VereTooley, Tooley's Dictionary of Mapmakers, 1979, N.Y
    2. James Elliot, The city in maps urban mapping to 1900,1987, London

    Peregrinatio in Terram Sanctam

    1486, Mainz, Imprint: Erhard Reuwich