Presentation of the cartographic album
June 20, 2017
On June 20, 2017, in the Blue Room of the National Museum of History of Moldova was presented the cartographic album "DESCRIPTIO BESSARABIAE". The event was organized by the Romanian Cultural Institute "Mihai Eminescu" in Chișinău, in partnership with the National Museum of History of Moldova.
The album presentation event was attended by Mr. Valeriu Matei, the director of RCI "Mihai Eminescu" and dr. hab. Eugen Sava, the director of the National Museum of History of Moldova. Among the special guests was dr.hab. Gheorghe Postică, Deputy Minister of Culture; academician Demir Dragnev and the authors of the album: univ.prof. Adrian Năstase, coordinator of the volume; dr. Mihai Gribincea, Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to Romania and researcher Ovidiu Dumitru.
The event was attended by Moldovan officials, researchers, museographers, teachers and scholars, representatives of the press, as well as members of the diplomatic corps accredited in Chișinău, including the Romanian Ambassador to Moldova, H.E. Daniel Ioniță.
Written in two languages, Romanian and English, the album "Descriptio Bessarabiae" presents 120 maps in an exceptional visual conception, rare pieces found in the collections of the National Museum of Maps and Old Books in Bucharest and in the private collections of the album authors. The presentation of the maps in the album structure respects the historical evolution of cartographic achievements related to the Bessarabian territory during almost five centuries of cartography.
"Bessarabia is not a myth. It is a reality. Emerged on the map by a game of history, this territory disappeared through an equally unexpected event. But as astronomers know to see comets only of their knowledge, they know how to comment and accurately calculate the trajectories only by their suspects; therefore historians should master the skill of honoring the most unseen truths. Compared to astronomy (if you want, they can also be related with the time), the maps are just regular charts that unseen hands of sovereigns of the moment show their own ambitions. And it is our duty not to take them as absolute truths, even if they are signed with names of Christian emperors like Alexander I or names of communist tyrants like Joseph Stalin ... The axiom of the existence of this earth are the very people who passed rapidly through the hourglass of time, but did not want to have a destiny similar to that of sand. Their purpose was to leave a trace. The supreme argument of their existence is the follow-up. Reading the traces of the generations that have gone down in our history, we affirm with deep conviction: Bessarabia is not a myth. It is a reality." (From the preface „Basarabia. Miza geostrategică"(Bessarabia. Geostrategic Stake))
An essential argument put forward by the authors in favor of the album "Descriptio Bessarabiae" is that in the Romanian Principalities from the medieval period there were no native concerns relevant to cartography, the maps being made more by foreign travelers, often accompanied by plastic artists to write down field information. These works were documentary studies that had, over time, a special, even restricted, regime. The cartographic atlases were used to educate the children of princes, helping to understand the changes of territory.
The cartographic album released at the National Museum of History of Moldova is part of a larger project, developed in collaboration with the Romanian Cultural Institute Publishing House and the National Museum of Maps and Old Books in Bucharest, a project from the series of albums containing maps of the Danube, Black Sea, Bessarabia. The series is wanted to be completed with the presentation of the old Transylvanian maps as part of the Program that marks the Centenary of the Great Union in the spring of next year.