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Number: 3679
Continent: Africa
Region: North
Place Names: Alexandria, Egypt,
Year of Origin: 1937
Language: French
Publish Origin: Alexandria
Height: 30.0
Width: 121.3
Units: centimeters
Size Class.: Large
Scale: 1 : 20,000
Color Type: Outline Color
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Cartographer: Alexandre Nicohosoff
Publisher: Establissement des 'Arts Graphiques'
Other Contributors: William McLean
Joseph Smouha
Northernmost Latitude: 31.3
Southernmost Latitude: 32.1
Westernmost Longitude: 29.9
Easternmost Longitude: 29.93
Measurement Notes: modern estimates
Notes: [source PAHOR] The rare first extended version of Alexandre Nicohosoff's map of Alexandria, showcasing the entire city and its rapidly developing suburbs in great detail when it was the Art Deco gem of the Mediterranean world, a thriving cosmopolitan port linking the West and the Orient; an important record of urban planning in the Middle East by one of Egypt's leading commercial cartographers; Off set print with original hand colour, on 4 joined sheets, housed within original decorative buff card covers, with a separate index sheets of 5 panels folding accordion style, lightly pasted within inside of front cover. This is the first complete map of Alexandria and all of its fast growing suburb made by the Alexandre Nicihosoff, an engineer and the proprietor of the Establissement des Arts Graphique, one of Egypt's leading publishers of maps and guides from around 1920 to 1950. It captures Alexandria at its historical apogee, when it was the Art Deco wonder of the Mediterranean world, thriving on its role linking the West and the Orient through the nearby Suez Canal. A cosmopolitan city of writers, artists and business tycoons, its culture was enriched by its large long-standing Coptic, Greek, Arab and Jewish communities, plus a large ex-patriot population. The map extends in a long strip from the Alexandrias western suburbs, at Mex, through the old city (with it famous two harbours), and then past the newly developed districts of Ramleh, and Sidi Bishr, and finally to Montaza, home of the royal Egyptian palace complex. The map details many important and curious institutional, industrial and historical sites, including the vast port facilities and the Fort Kayet Bey (the famous Qatbey Castle built in 1480 to guard the harbour, made from the ruins of the ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria). Importantly, the map is one of the very first to depict the complete design conceived by the urban planner William McLean, who from 1913 to 1926 oversaw the construction of a series of grand boulevards and parks that ran from the old city eastward parallel to the coast, anchoring the new suburban districts on garden city principles. The present edition of Nicohosoff's map is also one of the first to depict the new development of Smouha City, located upon reclaimed land near the great racecourse. Developed by Joseph Smouha, an Iraqi Jew who had made his fortune in England, it was considered to be the most advanced suburban community in the Middle East of the era. The Legende in the lower left gives ample, evidence of the cultural diversity of the city, as well as other factors. It explains the symbols used to show the outlines of all major edifices; consulates; churches; mosques; synagogues; Christian cemeteries; Muslim cemeteries; Jewish cemeteries; points of elevation; gardens; date groves; railways and tram lines; lighthouses and other aspects of maritime navigation. The map is one of the most fascinating and information packed urban plans of a Middle Eastern or North African city we have ever encountered, and deserves to be the focus of further research. A Note on Editions and Rarity Nicohosoff published his first map of Alexandria in 1920; however this work only covered the old downtown districts. In 1930, he issued a map that extended eastwards to the Ramleh suburb. However, it was not until the present 1937 edition that Nicohosoff extended the view from Mex, to the west of the old city, all the way east to Mountazah(Montaza), the furthest suburb, making this his first complete map of greater Alexandria. The present first complete version of Nicohosoff?s map of Alexandria is very rare; we can trace only 2 institutional examples (British Library and the U.K. National Archives). Moreover, we are not aware of any other examples appearing on the market in recent years. References: Library of Congress: G8304.A5 1937 .N5 / OCLC: 813206315; U.K. National Archives: FO 925/7860; Richard Smouha, Cristina Pallini and Marie-C?ile Bruwier, The Smouha City Venture: Alexandria 1923 ? 1958 (2014), esp. P. 117.
Last updated: Nov 20, 2020