Four maps forming a unique narrative of the Great Siege of 1565 have been given world recognition by UNESCO, making it into the Memory of the World Register.
Three of these maps belong to the cartographic collection at MUŻA, while the fourth is located at the Faculty of Science at Charles University in Prague.
“The fact that these Great Siege maps have been given world recognition by UNESCO is truly a marvellous thing for Malta. This significant event which forms part of our country’s rich history is being commemorated through the inclusion of these maps in this list”, Justice and Culture Minister Owen Bonnici said.
This is the first time that Malta has ever made it onto this prestigious list
UNESCO favourably acknowledged that this collection of maps, jointly owned by two European institutions, collectively fills one of the many lacunae in the visual chronicle of the well-known Great Siege of Malta of 1565, the Culture Ministry said.
Should one of the maps be lost or damaged, the integrity of this series would be irreparably compromised. UNESCO also stated that the inclusion of this documentary heritage in the Memory of the World Register reflects its exceptional value and offers an excellent opportunity to draw attention to the importance of the collective memory and its safeguard.
These Great Siege maps are the work of Italian publisher Giovanni Francesco Camocio, a thriving publisher and dealer of maps, prints and books. Distributed far and wide, these new maps were once the most effective means of reporting the latest developments of the siege. The maps document events that took place between August and September of 1565, illustrating the attack on Senglea and the withdrawal of the Ottoman forces. The items will be one of the highlights in the permanent display by MUŻA.
The 2013 discovery of State 2 of the Great Siege of Malta map by Giovanni Francesco Camocio, at the Charles University Map Collection in Prague, provided the unique opportunity for it to be linked with States 1, 3 and 4 of this Cartographic Collection. This significant merge thus permanently sealed this four state series of Great Siege maps and was also the subject of an exhibition held a few months ago at the National Museum of Archaeology.