Gorgeous example of Adam Olearius’s map of the Volga River, first published in 1647. As embassy secretary representing the German state of Holstein to explore an overland trade route with Persia, Olearius was dispatched to Russia in 1633-34. His published account of these travels included this map, the most important 17th century map of the Volga River.
The Volga River is the longest river in Europe, flowing from Central Russian to the Caspian Sea. This map stretches from the key city of Nischni Nowgorod to the Volga River delta at the Caspian. Also depicted are city-view vignettes of Saratow and Astrachan.
Equal to the importance of the cartography of the map are its vivid pictorial representations of rural life along the river, including local grain harvest and log cabins in the upper right corner, and an autumn harvest with camels and a thatched dwelling in the lower left corner.
Bagrow says of this map: “There is no comparing Olearius’ Volga with those primitive representations seen on earlier maps, such as those of Massa and Visscher.“ It was widely copied by other mapmakers (with significantly less embellishment and detail) for for many decades to follow.