Nice example of De Wit's striking Plan of Moscow.
This impressive plan of Moscow (Moskva) appeared in Blaeu's atlas for the first time in 1662 and was later issued by De Wit in his Atlas Maior. The map is believed to be derived from a Russian survey prepared at the orders of Boris Fyodorovich Godunov (c. 1551-1605), Tsar of Muscovy from 1598 onward, and was probably prepared prior to 1630. The original Russian plan has apparantly not survived, and Blaeu may have used a copy made in 1610 for King Sigismund III of Poland.
The plan as published by Blaeu, shows the old city which surrounds the Kremlin and the Kitai Gorod or Fortified City. The name Kremlin first appeared as Kreml' (or High Town) in an account of the fire in the town in 1331. It was founded in 1147 at the junction of two rivers, the Moskva and the Neglinnaya. As Moscow grew, the Kremlin became the royal, religious and secular heart of the city. Until Tsar Peter I transferred his seat of government to his new city of St Petersburg in 1713, it was the capital city. beyond the walls of Kitai Gorod, another section grew up, called Belgorod or White City, which was in 1584 after the death of Tsar Ivan the Terrible with a wall which spanned 6 miles and included 28 tower.
A note to the reader chiefly describes the fortifications of the city (translated from Latin):
Gentle reader, here you see the sections of the walls of the city of Moscow divided into four, or rather the four fortifications of the walls, of which the innermost is called Kitaygorod and is also a city itself. Closest to this is the castle, or rather the palace, surrounded by walls, and called Kremlenagrad which is encircled by two walls of stone, to which a few other materials have been added. The city, which continues to the east, north and west, is called Tsargorod, the city of the tsar: surrounded by walls of white stone but with earth added. The surrounding area outside is called Skorodum, with walls of wood but no earth; the part of it situated on the other side of the Moskva River, however, is called Strelzka Slaboda, and soldiers live in the houses there, and the guard of the great lord the tsar and the grand duke, and other children of Mars.'
The walls of Kitaygorod were built between 1534 and 1538. The nine-kilometer wall with 28 towers that surrounds Tsargrad, or Belgorod (white city), were built between 1583 and 1593. The outermost earthworks with a wooden wall was constructed in 1591. This part of the city was called Zemlyanoigorod (earthen city). In these earthen walls were 12 gates.
The best plan of Moscow from the mid-17th Century to appear in a commercial atlas, offered here in a rare late state published by De Wit.
De Wit (1629 ca.-1706) was a mapmaker and mapseller who was born in Gouda but who worked and died in Amsterdam. He moved to the city in 1648, where he opened a printing operation under the name of The Three Crabs; later, he changed the name of his shop to The White Chart. From the 1660s onward, he published atlases with a variety of maps; he is best known for these atlases and his Dutch town maps. After Frederik’s death in 1706, his wife Maria ran the shop for four years before selling it. Their son, Franciscus, was a stockfish merchant and had no interest in the map shop. At the auction to liquidate the de Wit stock, most of the plates went to Pieter Mortier, whose firm eventually became Covens & Mortier, one of the biggest cartography houses of the eighteenth century.