The Institute of History, Czech Academy of Sciences

Collection of maps


For users of the collection, there is an electronic, on-line accessible catalogue available, which is part of the catalogue of the Library of the Institute of History, and includes maps and plans. It is currently possible to search in them and browse in a preview cartographic documents from the period from the 17th to the first half of the 20th century, including Section III Military Mapping. The catalogue is continuously updated, (when searching, we recommend writing MAPY in the field “format”), just like the Virtual Map Library accessible at, which was created within the project Cartographic Sources as Cultural Heritage resolved by the Institute of History and the Research Institute of Geodesy, Topography and Cartography in Zdiby, v. v. i. This virtual map collection allows the browsing of maps from the Map Collection of the Institute of History in a map portal.
Atlases can be searched for in the on-line accessible digital catalogue or by using the scanned catalogue available in the library of the Institute of History.
The maps, plans and atlases are presented by prior arrangement via email with the administrator of the collection for the presence study in the Prague headquarters of the Institute of History.
Provision of maps for reproduction and publication is governed by the Rules for Access to Maps, Plans and Atlases.

History and Present of the Collection

The Map Collection was founded at the former Czechoslovak State Historical Editorial Institute, predecessor of the Institute of History, not long after its establishment and its first acquisitions come from 1931. The maps, plans and atlases were acquired through donations, purchases, exchanges with various institutions and from estates. The donations came mainly from the Archive of Prague Castle, from the Historical Club, National Cultural Commission, Survey Office, Military Geographic Institute, the donors included Bedřich Mendl, Ivan Honl, Zdeněk Wirth and others. A number of maps were taken from the scholarly estates of August Sedláček and Josef Vítězslav Šimák (many of them have not been preserved, however, because of several moves of the collections).
Since 1939, the Institute has maintained records of cartographic historical sources related to the Czech lands and stored in major Czech, Moravian, Silesian and Austrian (Viennese) collections - from these background materials František Roubík prepared a two-volume publication Soupis map českých zemí (Inventory of the Maps of the Czech Lands, Praha 1951/52, 1955). A handwritten card index, which was the base of the Inventory, was delimited to the Archive of the Academy of Sciences, the circumstances of the inventory work is clarified by many documents in the collection of Zdeněk Wirth at the Institute of Art History of the Academy of Sciences. After World War II, the collection was expanded by confiscated materials and other acquisitions.
In 1985-1990, basic work of filing and making it accessible took place in the collection, which continued after the collection was moved to the current headquarters of the Institute of History, and the result was the Katalog mapové sbírky Historického ústavu Akademie věd České republiky do roku 1850 (Catalogue of the Map Collection of the Institute of History of the Czech Academy of Sciences to 1850, Praha 2002) making the earliest part of the collection accessible in the form of a printed catalogue.
Since 2011, an electronic, on-line accessible catalogue in the Aleph system has been created, which is continuously updated.
The Map Collection is the background material for the Historical Atlas of the Towns of the Czech Republic and for other historical-geographic projects of the Institute of History including the Akademického atlasu českých dějin (Academic Atlas of Czech History, Praha 2014). Excursions of secondary-school and university students come to the collection; the collection is regularly presented at Open Houses of the Institute of History and Days of Science and Technology and is open to specialized researchers, students and other interested parties. In the study room of the Prague headquarters of the Institute of History, also a number of titles of historical-geographic and historical-cartographic specialized literature are available.


The collection stores maps mainly of European countries, predominantly maps of the Czech lands and territorial-administrative wholes of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. According to the contents, the collection is divided into generally geographical, topographic and thematic maps. Almost all of the maps are small and medium scale, printed from copperplates, by lithographic or other printing techniques (e.g. heliogravure), some are coloured or printed in colour. The core of the collection comprises maps of the Czech lands from the 16th–1st half of the 20th centuries. Along with the numerous reproductions of earlier cartographic works, they provide an image of the overall development of the cartography of the Czech lands.
The most important works include the map of Bohemia by Johann Christoph Müller from 1720, the Müller-Wieland map of Bohemia from 1726 and other maps, particularly by German publishers, who started from Müller’s map. European countries and states are represented mainly by the sets of the maps of Austria, Austro-Hungary and German lands and the individual maps of France, England, Italy and other lands from the 18th and 19th centuries. Of the topographic maps, we can mention the so-called old, special maps of the Czech lands from the period after the middle of the 19th century (1:144 000, based on the II. Military Mapping) and the maps of the III. Military Mapping – both the special maps of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy from the 1880s (1:75 000) and the topographic section (1:25 000) from the end of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries in many editions. Besides a number of odd copies and several complete sets of maps issued by private publishing houses, the collection has, for instance, maps of the regions in Bohemia and in Moravia from the publishing house in Nuremberg Homann Heirs or Elsewanger’s maps of the Bohemian regions from the 18th century, from the 19th and 20th centuries they are maps of the regions and districts in Bohemia and in Moravia, hiking maps with accompanying texts etc. The thematic maps of the Czech lands come from the 18th–20th centuries, besides the mentioned maps of the administrative divisions, they are economic maps, transport and postal maps, maps of the natural conditions, historical maps and ecclesiastical-administrative maps.

City Plans

The 172 titles include mainly the plans of the towns of the Czech lands, in a lower number the plans of European cities and one reconstruction plan of the Japanese town of Hakone. They are mainly plans printed from copperplates, by lithography and newer printing techniques, in colour (exceptionally coloured) as well as black-and-white, contour (without relief markings) and elevation (shaded or contour lines). Only two plans in the collection are handwritten (the plan of Nymburk from 1842 and the surroundings of Vyšehrad Gate in Prague from 1836). The plans mainly from from the 2nd half of the 19th and 1st half of the 20th centuries, some earlier plans are dated to the 17th and 18th centuries. A significant set comprises the plans of Bohemian and Moravian towns on a scale of 1:10000 always from the beginning and from the second half of the 1940s. The plans of the city of Prague are also numerous, including several exemplars of the plan by Josef Jüttner, Alfred Hurtig etc. Some of these plans are accessible also at the map portal
The collection includes thematic maps of towns with the wider surroundings (so-called Environsmaps) and reproductions of important plans issued as an edition of cartographic sources.


Other than maps and plans, the collection also contains approximately 1,200 inventory items of atlases from the 18th–20th centuries. The earliest atlases among the so-called early printed books are accessible in the database Kramerius. The atlases can be divided in terms of subject, i.e. by contents and purpose, in general geographical, thematic, school and pocket-sized. Besides the early printed books, the most sought after atlases include the detailed general geographic atlases by Stieler from the 2nd half of the 19th century and the national Atlas Republiky československé [Atlas of the Czechoslovak Republic] from 1935. The development of school atlas cartography is documented by two valuable copies of school geographical atlases, Malý příruční atlas všech částí země [Small Hand Atlas of All the Continents of the World] by Václav Merklas from 1846 and Školní atlas všech dílů země [School Atlas of All the Continents of the World] by Václav Zelený from 1854.

Web Map Potral of The Historical Towns Atlas of the Czech Republic - Prague

The Historic Towns Atlas of the Czech Republic