This rare map of Russia in Ottoman script was published in an atlas ىگى جغرافىا آطلسى (Yeñi coġrafya aṭlası), which was issued in Istanbul in the late 19th century.
The maps from this atlas are not numbered and the exact date of publication is not clear. We could only trace one example of this atlas in libraries worldwide in the University of Chicago Library. The atlas includes 41 maps and is dated in circa 1892. The maps in our descriptions are dated in 1893 and 1896.
It is possible the atlas was published in revised editions with different numbers of maps. All the maps from this atlas are rare today.
Ali Şeref Paşa or Hafız Ali Eşref
Not much is known about the author, who was known as Ali Şeref Paşa or Hafız Ali Eşref.
He was a soldier, who was schooled in Paris as a cartographer around 1862. Already in Paris he published his first atlas with 22 maps, called Yeni atlas. Upon his return to Istanbul he became a chief cartographer at the Matbaa-i Amire Printing Press in Beyazit, which was the successor of the Müteferrika press from 1727. Among others he translated the large Kiepert map of Anatolia to Ottoman.
He died in 1907, leaving his large project of a gigantic map of Anatolia in 100 sheets unfinished.
Ali’s name is often misunderstood or even listed as two different people: Ali Şeref Paşa and Hafız Ali Eşref.
Until the surname law adopted on June 21, 1934, Turks did not have surnames. They were born with one first name and were until the adulthood described only as sons or daughters of their parent’s names. Later they were given titles such as Effendi (Sir), Bey (Chief) or Hanım (Madam) for higher classes, or they were given names according to their work or class. The names were not inherited by children until 1934, when the surname law was enforced.
The map maker Ali received names Şeref, the honourable, and Paşa, the dignitary.
He was also known as Hafız, the memorizer of Qur'an, and Eşref, proud.
So Ali Şeref Paşa would have a meaning Honourable Dignitary Ali, and Hafız Ali Eşref, Memorizer of Qur’an Proud Ali.
Darüttıbaa - Matbaa-i Amire Printing Press
The first press in the Muslim world, called Darüttıbaa, was founded in Istanbul by İbrahim Müteferrika in 1727, with a permission of Sultan Ahmet III. It was located in Müteferrika’s house. The first book was published in 1729 and until 1742 sixteen other works followed.
After Müteferrika’s death the press was supressed for printing, as printed books were considered dangerous.
In 1796 the press was purchased by the government and moved to Üsküdar in Istanbul, and in 1831 finally to Beyazit, where it was renamed to Matbaa-i Amire in 1866.
The press was closed in 1901 and was reopened in 1908 under the name Millî. In 1927 the name changed to State Printing House. The press still exists and is known for publishing school and educational books.