Finely example of this scarce view of Baghdad, published by Vander Aa in Leiden.
The view provides a fine perspective of Baghdad at the beginning of the 18th Century, a time when it was still controlled by the Ottoman Empire.
On a hill in the foreground are images of mounted costumed nobles, with caravan camels shown trailing behind. Below, the city of Baghdad on the Tigres River unfolds, with important buildings within the walls identified by letters.
In 1534, Baghdad was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. Under the Ottomans, Baghdad fell into a period of decline, partially as a result of the hostility between its rulers and Persia. For a time, Baghdad had been the largest city in the Middle East before being overtaken by Constantinople in the 16th century.
Pieter van der Aa (1659-1733) was a Dutch mapmaker and publisher who printed pirated editions of foreign bestsellers and illustrated books, but is best known for his voluminous output of maps and atlases. Van der Aa was born to a German stonecutter from Holstein. Interestingly, all three van der Aa sons came to be involved in the printing business. Hildebrand was a copper engraver and Boudewyn was a printer.