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Cartographica Helvetica


Rehav Rubin (ריכב רובין‎):

The relief model of the city of Jerusalem by Stephan Illés (1873)

Cartographica Helvetica 34 (2006) 35–42


Stephan Illés built a detailed, large-scaled (1:500) relief model of Jerusalem in 1873. It is based on the town plan of Jerusalem, drawn by Captain Charles Wilson (Ordnance Survey of Jerusalem) in 1864/65. The relief model was exhibited at the Vienna World Fair in 1873 and later in several major cities in Europe. It was sold in Geneva in 1878 and was rediscovered and brought back to Jerusalem in 1985. It is not only an impressive and interesting model, but – thanks to its accuracy – also an important and unique document for the study of the history and geography of Jerusalem in the nineteenth century.

Stephan Illés later built two other relief models which have unfortunately been lost. They were constructed in the scope of a popular trend in relief maps and models which was common all over Europe. They enjoyed success in public events and exhibitions at that time, especially since photography and movies were not yet popular. Illés' success in Switzerland was probably due to the strong Swiss tradition in building relief models.

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