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A Very Rare Plan of Constantinople Documenting a Major Disaster in the City’s History

Istanbul/ Fire History. LOPEZ, Thomas [Madrid, 1783]
Plano Topografico De Constantinopla, Y De Las Poblaciones Adiacentes,… . 17 x 12 ¾ inches
Original wash coloring; toned in fold, else fine condition.


Separately published, Spanish plan of Constantinople documenting the calamitous fire of 1782 that destroyed 10,000 houses between Fener and Balat along the Sea of Marmara. The fire raged for over 50 hours, also destroying mosques, churches, businesses, and the janissary barracks. In addition to listing the city’s major structures, the table below the plan, consisting of 101 items, also notes areas of the city affected by various fires that occurred in 1782. The plan itself has small illustrations of the city’s most notable structures.
An important Spanish map engraver and publisher, Tomas López y Vargas Machuca (1731-1802), was born in Madrid and served as the official Royal Geographer to Carlos III. He studied under D’Anville in Paris before returning to Spain in 1760. López attempted to bring the most modern scientific methodology to his cartographic work. In a career spanning 40 years, he produced more than 200 maps and several atlases.

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