81 - The First Turkish World Map, by Kashgari (1072)




This map, made by Mahmud Kashgari bin Husayn bin Muhammad, was included in his Divanu Lügat-it-Türk, a scientific work he published in 1072 (AD) for the benefit of the Caliph of Baghdad. It is the first world map of Turkish origin known in history, and is preserved at the General National Library (Millet Genel Kütüphanesi) in Istanbul. It is presented on a stamp issued in 1972, on the occasion of the map’s nine-hundredth birthday.



The map is oriented with the east on top (but is shown here with north on top) and centres on the Turkic areas in Central Asia, which include Kashgar, the birth-place of Kashgari. The map scale is reduced towards the edges of the map. The geographical features are colour-coded thus:

  • Blue – rivers
  • \n
  • Green – seas
  • \n
  • Light yellow – deserts
  • \n
  • Red – mountains
  • \n
  • Yellow – cities, countries, lands and peoples
  • \n

This map was taken from the excellent stamp website mentioned in the previous post, and is overlaid with numbers 1-24 to indicate references to (mostly) real places. Which are:

  1. Bulgaria (judging by its location, probably the so-called Wolga-Bulgaria rather than present-day Bulgaria)
  2. \n
  3. Caspian Sea
  4. \n
  5. ‘Rus’ (Russia)
  6. \n
  7. Alexandria
  8. \n
  9. Egypt
  10. \n
  11. Tashkent
  12. \n
  13. Japan (surrounded by a green semicircle)
  14. \n
  15. China (with water to the west)
  16. \n
  17. Balasagun (now in Kyrgyzstan, then the ‘centre of the world’)
  18. \n
  19. Kashgar (the map-maker’s birthplace)
  20. \n
  21. Samarqand
  22. \n
  23. Iraq
  24. \n
  25. Azerbaijan
  26. \n
  27. Yemen
  28. \n
  29. East Somalia
  30. \n
  31. East Sahara
  32. \n
  33. Ethiopia
  34. \n
  35. North Somalia
  36. \n
  37. Indus
  38. \n
  39. Hindustan
  40. \n
  41. Ceylon (Adam’s Peak or Jebel Serandib, indicated by the red dot on the south of the island, supposedly is where Adam was exiled to after being kicked out of Paradise)
  42. \n
  43. Kashmir
  44. \n
  45. Gog and Magog (Biblical/legendary land walled off from the world by a mountain range)
  46. \n
  47. The World-Encircling Sea
  48. \n

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