Chuhuiv (Chuguev) is a small city in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine. Its population is only about 32,5 thousand people, but it has a strong tradition in cartography and topography.

I traveled to Chuguiv this November and visited local museums. There are many old plans of the city there, and there are maps among exhibits too.

But why Chuhuiv? This city has a cartographic history. In the first half of the nineteenth century (until 1857), it has a school of military topographers, who supplied the staff to the corps of military topographers of the Russian Empire (topography as science studies the earth’s surface, methods of its measurement and images on a plan or map). Famous Ukrainian artist Ilya Repin spent some time studying there when he was a child, he left some written memories about that time.

Chuhuiv is also known for being a military settlement from the very foundation in 1638, with an appropriate way of life. Chuhuiv and its district are still an important place of deployment of military units, it is very noticeable in the city itself.

The building that housed the school of military topographers also contained a lithographic workshop and the headquarters of military districts. Nowadays, the building is in poor condition, only the central part is restored and retains some functional purpose — there is now an art gallery, quite large.

The city remembers its both military and topographical traditions. When you come to any city of Ukraine, the most common map for sale is either a modern street/house plan or some tourist map of the old town. In Chuhuiv you will find a complex map of the military settlement of 1853.

The headline indicates the scale — “One English inch has 250 sazhens” (one sazhen was 2.1336 meters long). The corresponding scale bar, made at the same time in two of these units, is directly below the headline. There are 77 marks for buildings on the plan, which are explained on the left and right side of the map. They are divided into groups, depending on whose cost they were built: at the expense of the treasury, the emperor, at their own expense, transferred to the military from the public department, and the building of military settlers and miscreants.

A great publication, just some 30 UAH (1.2 USD), I bought it a couple of years ago at the Arsenal Book Festival in Kyiv. On the backside, there are old photographs of the still preserved buildings, with a brief info about them. Perfect souvenir.

111 thoughts on “Chuhuiv Old Maps and Military Topography”

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