in cooperation with researchers, historians, collectors and archivists
very first old Cyprus map I saw, that is about two years ago, when, on the
occasion of my visit to the National Archive and Research Centre in Kyrenia,
its director Mr Gökhan Şengör took me on a tour through the sacred halls in the
old building where the most precious documents are kept. Gökhan Şengör opened a
drawer of a safe cabinet and - whispering with a low voice full of respect - he
said: “This map is by Lord Kitchener!” I had read about this highly honoured officer
who in 1878 was sent to Cyprus to establish a survey of that newly acquired British protectorate. I was
on March 17, the exhibition was opened in the big entrance hall of the Near
East Hospital and I am equally impressed that more than a hundred Cyprus maps and
documents have been brought together and are available for the public eyes
until 06 April 2014. The project was initiated by Dr. Umut Koldaş,
Director of the Near East Institute and Prof. Dr. Ercan Citlioğlu, guest lecturer
at the mentioned institute. The research work began nine months ago. Nazif
Bozatlı, a respected private archivist, who also contributed admiralty maps of
Cyprus and documentation on Lord Kitchener, was appointed curator and treasurer
of the project.
contributors are: Prof. Heath Lowry, an American historian; National Archive
and Research Centre Kyrenia; the Cyprus Evkaf Foundation; and finally the Near East University Library contributing
to the history of CMC Cyprus Mining Company and Kitchener’s trigonometrical map
of Cyprus dated 1885.
The opening was a great success, a very complete and meaningful project
brought to life by the cooperation of many during nine months of research and
practical work of collating the found material. The ribbon was cut by the Prime
Minister Özkan Yorgancıoğlu, the former Finance Minister Ersin Tatar, the
Director of the National Archive Gökhan Şengör, the Chairman of Board of
Trustees of NEU Asst. Prof. Dr.
İrfan Suat Günsel and the Director
of Near East Institute Prof. Dr. Umut Koldaş. A short film is shown
to the visitor in the exhibition hall to document the work of preparation;
there will be another film on the project and the maps in more details with
What is so important about these old maps, the safekeeping of them and the
respect we have to show and what do we learn from them.
First of all it is the enormous work that is involved to establish such
maps; we sometimes see the land surveyors when a road is planned, but it is on
the basis of these old first maps that planning is possible; the run of old riverbeds
long forgotten, of valleys and hills; of ancient settlements and the
developments over the years; how can cities and villages be planned properly?
Today we have possibilities to do surveys from the air, by satellite but in
those days the survey may have taken years to establish such maps. Surveying of
land is the technique, profession and science of accurately determining the
terrestrial or three-dimensional position of points and the distances and
angles between them. Our properties are officially surveyed and entered so we
know what belongs to us. To accomplish this task of land surveying elements of
geometry and trigonometry, of physics and engineering are being used. Surveyors
can determine the relative height of mountains with reference to sea level, the
angle of a hill side etc. and so many more things. Surveying goes back to the
old Egyptians but was getting more scientific and more precise by inventing the
proper equipment for measuring and recording. To determine coastlines is
important for the sailing community as I know from our own experience and I
remember the many books I have read on the first explorers with great
the three weeks of exhibition two conferences will be held, one in Turkish om
28 February at 10:00 hrs. and one in English on the same day at 14:00 hrs. both
at the Hospital in Hall B 101.
The exhibition is in the Foyer of the NEU Hospital and it will be open
to the public until 06 April 2014, visiting hours 10:00-16:00, incl. Saturdays
and Sundays. A
catalogue is available on all items exhibited.