[Postal Map of the Russian Empire Composed and Engraved in 1806]

Postal map of the Russian Empire published during the Napoleonic Wars.

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This incredible and scarce map was engraved by Aleksandr Dmitrievich Savinkov for the Saint Petersburg Imperial Map Depot in 1806. It shows the vast territory of the Russian Empire under the authority of Tsar Alexander I, stretching from its border with the European kingdoms of Poland, Prussia, and Austria to the remote Siberian city of Tomsk.

Numerous cities and transportation routes of varying degrees of importance are noted according to the legend in the lower right. Of particular interest are the postal routes, shown connecting a myriad of towns and villages across the empire. Distances between points are provided in “versts,” a now obsolete Russian measure of length, equal to approximately 1.1 kilometers.

Large swathes of Central Asia, mostly portions of modern-day Kazakhstan, remain largely empty of information apart from a few geographic features. Original outline color, applied by hand, distinguishes the provincial organization of the empire. Several of these regions are labeled in the legend.

At the time of publication, Russia was engaged in wars on multiple fronts. The Third Coalition against Napoleon’s France was failing, having endured a significant defeat at Austerlitz in 1805. Two years later, the Tsar’s forces would experience another loss as part of the Fourth Coalition at the Battle of Friedland, the location of which can be seen on the map’s far left edge (southeast of Konigsberg). To the south, Russia was having greater success against the Persian Empire and would eventually conquer much of the Caucasus.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1806

Author: Aleksandr Dmitrievich Savinkov

Sheet Width (in): 36.4

Sheet Height (in): 22.3

Condition: A-

Condition Description: Engraved map dissected into 21 segments and mounted onto linen with a green border. A nice impression that shows a few faint scattered spots within the image and small separations at the fold intersections. Original outline color. Very good overall.

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