Oldest map of Scotland goes on display in Edinburgh

The first ever printed image of Scotland is set to go on public display as part of a major exhibition of some of the world's most magnificent maps.

The first ever printed map of Scotland from 1560.

Entire walls of the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh will be transformed for the show You Are Here, which will trace the evolution of map-making back to the 16th century.

The first map of Scotland, said to date from 1560, was printed in Italy by Paolo Forlani, a cartographer and engraver based in Venice.

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It is one of the highlights of an exhibition, drawn from the NLS collection of more than two million maps, which will take visitors from the streets of Edinburgh to locations around the world.

Bird's eye view of Edinburgh in 1582.

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The exhibition also features several new maps, including one charting the smells that waft over modern day Edinburgh, a map of Scotland where place names have been replaced by phrases revealing the original meaning of these names and the first ever map to show population density across the UK.

Curator Paula Williams said: “Maps are everywhere - on our phones, in our cars and pockets, on walls, bus stops and adverts - but how much do we really know about them?

“They help to shape how we see and understand the world but they are not completely objective instruments – they are created by individuals, often with specific aims in mind.

Map of the world in 1660.

You can get much more out of maps if you understand how they are constructed.

“I hope that after people visit the exhibition they will be much more questioning of the maps in their pockets or their phones and not treat them as the absolute truth.”

Bird's eye view of Edinburgh in 1582.

You are Here is at the National Library of Scotland from July 22 till April 3.


Map of the world in 1660.