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Unique Malta Siege maps displayed at Prague Science Faculty

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Prague, June 30 (CTK) – Four versions of the unique Renaissance map of the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 will open at the Faculty of Science of Charles University (UK) in Prague on Thursday.

The exhibition entitled “Siege Maps: Keeping Memory Safe” is also to support the Czech-Maltese application for the international register of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme.

Cartographic documents make up mere 4 percent out of all 350 heritage items registered in the programme. UNESCO will release its decision whether the Malta Siege map is accepted in June 2017.

The Czech Republic has five entries in the register so far.

The display of the maps is accompanied by video presentations and other interesting information about the Siege of Malta. It will be held till the end of August.

Three displayed versions of the map (the first, third and fourth) come from the cartographic collections of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Malta. The second version was found by Joseph Schir thanks to the digitised and released maps in their collection of the Prague Faculty of Science.

At present, it is the only preserved print in European and American collections, the organisers said. The whole cycle of the war reports on the decisive battle of Malta was completed again after 450 years.

In May 1565, the 40,000-men army of the Ottoman Empire tried to invade the island of Malta, then held by only 540 Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem and 8,000 Maltese inhabitants and European mercenaries. Despite the enormous superiority, the Turks were defeated after four months.

The Siege of Malta maps were created by Giovanni Francesco Camocio (1501-1575). They quickly informed Europe about the state of the siege and were also the first to report about the Turkish defeat.

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