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Cartographica Helvetica


Urs Alfred Müller:

Old maps as cultural historical sources exemplified by the Uri canton

Cartographica Helvetica 2 (1990) 2–8


Old maps are very useful sources for cultural and historical research, as for instance for the Inventory of the Historical Traffic Roads of Switzerland (IVS).

In 1495/1497, the Uri canton appeared for the first time on a map drawn by Konrad Türst. Forty years later, Aegidius Tschudi published a detailed geographical description and another south-oriented map. Maps drawn by Johannes Stumpf (1548), Hans Conrad Gyger (1657), Johann Jakob Scheuchzer (1713), and Gabriel Walser (1756) followed.

The important passage through the Reuss valley and across the Gotthard pass was already marked on all these maps with constructions like the famous bridges 'Teufelsbrücke' (Stiebende Brugg) and 'Häderlisbrücke'.

Also remarkable is the detailed representation of the county boundaries, mythical figures such as the devil with his stone or topographical features like waterfalls. Walser's map gives evidence and further information about the iron mines in the Maderaner Tal, the crystal trade and cattle breeding, which, besides the trade transport, used to be the main sources of income for the people living in the mountainous Uri canton.

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