WORKERS at the Podunajské Museum in Komárno have found the oldest globe in Slovakia in the museum's stores. The celestial globe from 1603 is a work of the Dutch astronomer and cartographer Willem Janszoon Blaeu from Amsterdam, the SITA newswire wrote. It depicts the celestial spheres of the northern and southern hemispheres.
"Up to that time people knew only of stars in the northern hemisphere. Only Dutch scholars went to countries in the southern hemisphere at the threshold of the 16th and the 17th century for expeditions to watch the sky," the museum director Jozef Csütőrtőky told SITA. "Blaeu got information from them and depicted these star patterns."
There are only ten such globes in the world. They are in Oxford, Vienna, Florence, London and Prague.
So far, the celestial globe of Nicolas Bion from 1712, which is in the museum of Červený Kameň Castle, was considered to be the oldest globe in Slovakia.
The precious globe with its original wooden stand stayed in the museum's stores for many years. During the first week of February, when museum workers were putting up exhibits for a display in the observatory in Hurbanovo, they found out that it was older than they had originally assumed.
"When we removed the hundred-year old dust, we were able to read the Latin text with the date and the name of its creator," said Csütőrtőky.
Now the globe will undergo a restoration, after which it will become one of the top exhibits of the Podunajské Museum.
Blaeu was an assistant of the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe, who served the court of Rudolph II in Prague.
The globe probably arrived in Komárno from the observatory of Mikuláš Konkoly - Thege in Hurbanovo.
18. Feb 2008 at 0:00 | Compiled by Jana Liptáková from press reports