Egypt recovers rare Cedid-Atlas from Germany

Menna Alaa El-Din , Wednesday 30 Oct 2019

The Cedid-Atlas dates to 1803 and is the rarest printed atlas in the world

FM Shoukry, FM Maas
Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry receives a rare copy of Cedid Atlas from German counterpart Heiko Maas (Photo Courtesy of Egyptian MOFA)

Egypt has retrieved from Germany a rare copy of the historical Cedid-Atlas, which dates to the early 19th century, after it was smuggled from the country.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass delivered the copy of the atlas to Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry during the European minister's official two-day visit to Egypt.

According to a statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry, the copy was smuggled to Germany after it was stolen from Egypt's General Organisation for Books and National Documentary.

Germany delivered the copy after it was seized in October 2018 on suspicion of smuggling to the country, the German Embassy in Egypt has said.

"This comes under Germany's efforts to preserve global cultural heritage and combating illicit trade of cultural heritage assets," the embassy said.

Egypt has been pushing to retrieve its smuggled artefacts abroad.

The Cedit-Atlas, the first to be printed in the Muslim world in Istanbul in 1803, consists of a treatise on geography, an astronomical chart and around 24 maps of the world extending from Turkey and the Mediterranean to the United States.

Only 50 copies were printed, with very few copies of the atlas available in the world today after most were destroyed in a fire in 1808, making it the rarest printed atlas.

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