The Development Of Armenian Printing In Europe – 17th Century

In the second half of the 17th century, Armenian typography in Europe has been experiencing rapid development. In 1695 in Amsterdam, a unique work was published in the printing house headed by Tovmas Vanandetsi – the first printed map of the world in Armenian called “Hamatarats Ashkharatsuyts” (“Universal Index of the World”).

The first large-scale map of the hemispheres in Armenian was considered the best and one of the most reliable in its period. The design of the map was made with taste in a style that is still practical in western cartography.

All four book printers in the Armenian printing house of Amsterdam (Bishop Tovmas Vanandetsi, Mateos Hovhannisyan, and brothers Ghukas and Mikael Nuridzhanyan) who compiled and published the map “Hamatarats Ashkharatsuyts” were from the village of Vanand, Gokhtan province, Nakhijevan. They remained in history under the name “Printing House of Vanandetsi” or simply Vanandetsi. The Armenian printing house they founded in Amsterdam existed until 1717, publishing many valuable books and study guides in the Armenian language.

Famous Dutch craftsmen and brothers Adriaan and Peter Schoonebeek brilliantly performed copper engravings for the map. The high-quality engravings outside the hemispheres depicting the four seasons based on the motives of ancient Greek mythology are very characteristic of Renaissance art.

We should also note that the typographic forms of the map published in Amsterdam later ended up in Venice. Thanks to these printing forms, “Hamatarats Ashkharatsuyts” would be reprinted in color at the printing house of the Order of the Mkhitarists on the island of St. Lazarus.

Ruben Shukhyan

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