The Legend Of The
Piri Reis Map

From Erol Erkmen
"Strangely accurate maps were circulating around Europe at the time of Columbus"
Let us take a trip into some periods of the past. The first stop on this trip will be Turkey thirty years ago. The first quarter of the present century shows Turkey at the end of the War of Independence, and the Republic established by Kemal Ataturk (1923). The Turkish Republic, now thirty years old, was founded on the remains of another Turkish state, the Ottoman Empire (1299-1923).
For the second stop let us take the year 1929. Let us go into the Palace of Topkapi of the Ottoman Sultans, situated on one of the most beautiful spots of Istanbul called Sarayburnu. The palace, which consists of various buildings, each surrounded by vast gardens, testifies to the different characteristics of the Ottoman period. The Turkish Republican Government decided to turn this palace into a museum.
Discovery of the map of America
In the process of classifying the numerous articles in the buildings, Mr. Halil Edhem, Director of the National Museums, discovered a map* (9 Nov.1929) till then unknown in the world of science. Upon hearing of this discovery of the oldest map of America Ataturk showed great interest in the matter. He asked for the map to be brought to Ankara, studied it and ordered it to be published as it stood and to be submitted to scholarly research.
To study this map for the first time with Ataturk was an immense thrill. It had been drawn hundreds of years ago on a roe-skin, with various coloured illustrations and writings on it. As I held it in my hands, I felt as if I were living in the long forgotten past. My emotions are twenty-four years old now, but let us, with the same national and scholarly pride, take a glimpse into the period when this map was drawn and into the history of the man who had drawn it.
This is one of the oldest and yet most perfect maps of America, drawn by a Turkish admiral. Now, if you do not mind being centuries old for a few minutes, come with me to the XVI th century. In this third stop our journey suddenly covers a vast ground.



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