Civitates Orbis Terrarum

Civitates Orbis Terrarum Facsimile Edition

Cologne (Germany) — 1572–1617

Regarded today as an invaluable source of history and architecture before the destruction of the Thirty Years' War: the mammoth work by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg with 600 beautiful, realistic, and detailed cityscapes from all over the world

  1. An extremely popular masterpiece by Frans Hogenberg and Simon van den Neuwel, printed by Georg Braun

  2. Produced between 1572 and 1617, the six-volume codex contains 600 realistic and gorgeous cityscapes

  3. The copperplates are unique and possess a wealth of details about life such as local folk costumes

Civitates Orbis Terrarum

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum

The Civitates Orbis Terrarum or the “Cityscapes of Frans Hohenberg” were produced between 1572 and 1617. The theologian Georg Braun functioned as the publisher of the printed graphic work. The codex contains 600 realistic and gorgeous cityscapes. The richly detailed colored pictures were groundbreaking for the geography of the outgoing Middle Ages and still astound their beholder today.

Civitates Orbis Terrarum

In the year 1572, the Dutchman Abraham Ortelius published a famous world atlas by the name of Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. It was the first work of its kind and created a sensation worldwide. The magnificent atlas so fascinated the copperplate engraver Frans Hogenberg that he decided to expand the Dutch work through distinct, fantastical cityscapes. The so-called Civitates Orbis Terrarum is a collection of 600 colored copperplate engravings, which show the most well-known and important cities of the medieval world. It is one of the most beloved works of the German Renaissance not only because of its geographic correctness, but also thanks to its enchanting pictures.

A Scientific Feat

The publication of the Civitates Orbis Terrarum encompasses over 600 realistic cityscapes and city maps with an overall scope of ca. 1,600 pages. It was published in six volumes between 1572 and 1618 and shows all the great cities of Europe, Africa, Asia, and even America. Georg Braun, a theologian who lived from 1541 to 1622, acted as publisher. Frans Hogenberg was the engraver for the first 4 volumes. He had already made various maps for Abraham Ortelius. The 5th and 6th volumes were fleshed out by Simon van den Neuwel. The greatest thinkers of that time worked perfectly together here and created a academically and artistically valuable masterpiece.

Breathtaking Décor

The artistically designed engravings by Hohenberg are unique among medieval cityscapes. Jerusalem, Rome, Istanbul, Moscow, London, Paris, Mexico, Bilbao, Barcelona, Burgos, and Seville are only a few of the world cities reproduced in the work. The realistic, colored depictions of cities and landscapes are characterized by an unbelievable wealth of details. Alongside the faithful depictions of cities, the pictures amaze through richly endowed decoration. Carriages, ships, contemporary folk costumes, as well as numerous genre scenes enliven the exquisite pictures and convey a realistic impression of everyday life towards the end of the Middle Ages. The depictions revive the whole world of the 16th and 17th centuries - the “Golden Age”, comes alive.


Alternative Titles
Städteansichten von Braun und Hogenberg
Contrafactur der Vornebster Stät
Size / Format
6 volumes - 1,300 pages / 36.0 × 25.0 cm
600 double-page cityscapes and 300 maps
Depictions of all the great cities of Europe, Africa, Asia, and even America
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Civitates Orbis Terrarum – R/22248-250 + ER/4684-86|BG/32146-32151 – Archivo Histórico Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain) / Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain) Facsimile Edition
CM Editores – Salamanca, 2015
Limited Edition: 375 copies
Detail Picture

Civitates Orbis Terrarum

Eighty Years' War

Work on this marvelous collection of cityscapes and maps began four years after the outbreak of the Dutch War of Independence, also known as the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648). As such, it is a testament to the genius of the Dutch Republic, which first declared independence from Spain in 1581. This medallion miniature shows Dutch patriots attacking fortified positions with canon and muskets in the foreground as groups of pikemen clash in front of the ramparts.

Civitates Orbis Terrarum
Single Page

Civitates Orbis Terrarum

Cityscape of Vienna

The double-page copperplate at hand represents just one of 600 gorgeous and accurate cityscapes, which is the greatest source on the appearance of medieval cities before the destruction of the 30 Years’ War. It depicts the city of Vienna, one of the most important political, commercial, and artistic centers of late medieval Europe.

This realistic depiction possess a tremendous wealth of detail. It accurately depicts the Austrian city as a whole, with special attention paid to its most important buildings and landmarks – 85 of which are enumerated in the map key. Attention is also paid to its updated Renaissance fortifications as well as the commercial traffic via ship that occurs on the banks of the Danube River in the foreground.

Civitates Orbis Terrarum
Facsimile Editions

#1 Civitates Orbis Terrarum

CM Editores – Salamanca, 2015
Civitates Orbis Terrarum – R/22248-250 + ER/4684-86|BG/32146-32151 – Archivo Histórico Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain) / Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain) Facsimile Edition
Civitates Orbis Terrarum – R/22248-250 + ER/4684-86|BG/32146-32151 – Archivo Histórico Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain) / Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain) Facsimile Edition Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: CM Editores – Salamanca, 2015
Limited Edition: 375 copies
Binding: Light brown leather with embossing
Commentary: 1 volume by Georgius Braun, Franciscus Hogenbergius, José L. Casado Soto, and Agustín H. Rica
6 volumes: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€€€ (over 10,000€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!
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