1901 - RARE 12-Foot Panorama - Syria
1901 - RARE 12-Foot Panorama - Syria
Iskenderun - Gulf of Turkey
Panorama von Alexandrette. Prague: Heinrich Mercy & Son, 1901. Exceedingly scarce and enormous illustrated panoramic pan of Alexandretta [Iskenderun], produced by Ludwig Salvator, Archduke of Austria, naturalist, pioneering conservationist, and explorer of little known Mediterranean lands. Two colour-lithographic maps (each measuring approximately 46 x 37 cm) flanking a wood-engraved panorama on 7 sheets, overall measurements 367 x 57 cm. Letterpress with one economic table and 4 wood-engravings on glazed verso; wooden rollers with brass rings at either end, margins linen-edged with linen loops at upper margin for hanging.
Only one American institution holds a copy of this item, John Crerar Library. OCLC adds two copies in Germany (Munich and Hamburg).
Very rare and most outstanding, this panorama of Iskenderun in the Gulf of Turkey is based on a scientific journey to the Holy Land undertaken in 1899 by world traveller, conservationist and natural historian, Ludwig Salvator, Archduke of Austria, who lived in Majorca most of his life as Count of Neuendorf. It represents the last voyage taken with Miss Catalina Homar, which ultimately cost her her life from disease. To each side of the expansive woodcut engraving is a chart, one of the Bay of Alexandretta, one of the harbour of Alexandretta, each in colour and each with nautical soundings. The verso comprises a detailed historical topographic, ethnographic, archaeological, political and economic monograph on this ancient and important trading place. The illustrations show pack animals resting on the beach of Iskenderun, traditional bazaars, the main street and the Catholic church. The maps are produced by the map printers and publishers Eduard Hölzel in Vienna; the wood-engravings were carried out by the artist Johann Simáné.
Alexandretta - Iskenderun
In ancient times, the port city of Alexandretta, founded by and named for Alexander the Great circa 333 BCE, was noted for its fine harbor, and was the terminus of the overland Chinese silk road. From there the silk was conveyed by boat to Italy and the rest of Europe. The city was part of the Ottoman Empire until its collapse after World War I, when it became annexed into French-controlled Syria, before being part of the short-lived Republic of Hatay, which joined Turkey in 1939.
Under Ottoman rule Iskenderun became an important Mediterranean port and trade center. Situated near the pass to Syria, it was the harbour used by traders and travellers from Aleppo, inland in Syria. During the 1590s, it was an important center on the overland trade route to the Persian Gulf. It later suffered great loss from outbreaks of malaria, until the draining of its marshes, which improved health conditions and increased commerce and production. An agricultural boom began around 1890 made Alexandretta an important outlet for produce for over two decades. Following railway construction in 1913, it was surpassed by Tripoli and Beirut.
The city has been named Iskenderun since the destruction of the Principality of Antioch by Mamluks in 1268. An historical continuation of its original name, 'Iskender' is Arabic for Alexander the Great.
Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria (1847-1915), a rather free spirited Austrian noble, was a natural history and wildlife enthusiast, conservationist, seasoned world traveller, and accomplished author of travel works, although best known for his encyclopaedic oeuvre of Balearic natural history, a seven volume work published from 1869-1891 titled, "Die Balearen in Wort und Bild geschildert". The son of Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, he was the also second cousin to emperor Franz Joseph of the ruling House of Habsburg-Lorraine. Equipped with his own steam and sailing yacht "Nixe" completed in 1873, Salvator explored Mediterranean regions, also performing scientific studies inland. He was immediately enamoured with Majorca upon his arrival in 1867, and settled there permanently in 1872, purchasing parcels of land to preserve and enjoy.
In 1885 Salvator made the acquaintance of Catalina Homar, the daughter of a carpenter from Deià, then 17 years of age. The Archduke made her the administrator of his s’Estaca estate near Deià, where she was celebrated for her success in cultivating grapes (wines produced under her stewardship from local Malvasia grapes won prizes in Paris and Chicago). The young lady also became the Archduke’s lover and the pair made several trips around the world together. Salvator's ship was wrecked in 1893, and the following year Salvator acquired the three-mast vessel "Hertha" from the Prince of Liechtenstein, which he renamed "Nixe."
In 1899, he made his last voyage with Catalina Homar, from Mallorca to the Holy Land. Tragically, Catalina contracted a deadly infectious form of leprosy, which eventually took her life in 1905.
It was Salvator's intense desire to stimulate public interest for landscapes which he thought were little known, rarely traveled, but worthy of attention. His scientific work and subsequent treatises and maps were centered on undiscovered regions, mainly small islands in Greece, Sicily, Italy, and the Balearic Islands. [The Balearic Islands are commemorating the centenary of his death in 2015.]
Minor marginal spots, otherwise pristine condition and preserved in a new cardboard tube, retaining the original printed label.