Acta Geodaetica et Geophysica Hungarica

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 3–16 | Cite as

Rediscovering the old treasures of cartography — What an almost 500-year-old map can tell to a geoscientist

  • B. SzékelyEmail author
Open Access


Tabula Hungariae (1528), created by Lazarus (Secretarius), is an almost 500 year-old map depicting the whole Pannonian Basin. It has been used for several geographic and regional science studies because of its highly valued information context. From geoscientific point of view this information can also be evaluated. In this contribution an attempt is made to analyse in some extent the paleo-hydrogeography presented in the map, reconsidering the approach of previous authors, assuming that the mapmaker did not make large, intolerable errors and the known problems of the cartographic implementation are rather exceptional.

According to the map the major lakes had larger extents in the 16th century than today, even a large lake (Lake Becskerek) ceased to exist. Concerning the fluvial pattern, a detailed analysis is possible for the Danube. Important changes can be implied at the Danube Bend, and there was a stronger tendency of island formation (i.e., tendency towards braided style) downstream from the present day Budapest. In most of the cases the assumption of the depicted islands is feasible. The existence of a few paleo-islands not present today can be validated by historical sources as well. Furthermore, the river Sárvíz, today a less important watercourse, might have had more importance in the transport at that time, probably due to its larger water discharge.

Summarizing the observations it seems that these are indications of larger discharge values and/or a wetter climate in the Central Pannonian Basin in the 16th century.


Danube environmental change historical maps palaeohydrography Pannonian Basin river avulsion 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Christian Doppler Laboratory, Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote SensingVienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria
  2. 2.Department of Geophysics and Space Science, Institute of Geography and Earth SciencesEötvös UniversityBudapestHungary

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