The Piri Reis Map is a famous pre-modern world map created by 16th century Ottoman-Turkish admiral and cartographer Piri Reis. On the map, you can see part of the western coasts of Europe and North Africa with considerable accuracy. The coast of Brazil is also relatively accurately displayed. Numerous Atlantic islands, including the Azores and the Canary Islands, are depicted, as well as the mythical island of Antillia. The map is also known for the depiction of a southern landmass that looks a lot like Antarctica – which is evidence for early awareness of the continent. Some scholars claim this and other maps support a theory of global exploration by a pre-classical undiscovered civilization. Others say that the map is merely a copy of a Columbus’ map. Below is a video of the scholar who claims the latter.
The map was discovered by accident on 9 October 1929 by a German theologian, Gustav Adolf Deissmann. He had been commissioned by the Turkish Ministry of Education to catalogue the Topkapı Sarayı library’s non-Islamic items. The library’s director, at Deismann’s request, searched the place for old maps and charts and managed to find some disregarded bundles of material, which he handed over to Deismann. Deismann quickly realized that the map might be a unique find. He showed it to the orientalist Paul Kahle who identified it as a map drawn by Piri Reis. The discovery caused an international sensation: it was the only then known copy of a world map of Christopher Columbus. Additionally, and perhaps even more importantly, it was the only 16th century map that showed South America in its proper longitudinal position to Africa.
The Piri Reis map is currently located in the Library of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, but is not usually on display to the public.
What is still unknown is how they measured the longitudinal distances. How do you think they did it, and why couldn’t the European seamen do it?
Also – this Antillia island that I mentioned above fascinates me, I might do a Weird Phenomenon post about it soon!