Geographical and statistical atlas of Romania

Modern History
typing, lithography
H=47 cm; l=33 cm

    Dimitrie Papazoglu`s Atlas

    Texts: Cornel C. Ilie / Photo: project MANUSCRIPTUM-MNIR

    On the inner cover: Geographical atlas of Romania, divided into 32 districts wherein the following are shown: central and roads and communication roads, domain limits, number of families in each township, all monasteries, telegraph lines, post offices, Danube and mountain pickets, border points, the places of Romanian battles, archaeological sites, as well as, on every map, the statistical numbers of every single district.

    Additionally, every map contains statistics showing the number of: towns in a district, townships, barnyards or domains, telegraph and post offices, pickets, monasteries, yokes (cultivated and uncultivated), landlords, landholders, as well as the population of the respective district. Marked on the map are: captions, scale, the emblem of the district, and the name of the editor and the etcher, as well as the personality to whom the map was dedicated (Scarlat Rosetti – Muscel, Scarlat Rosetti – Muscel, Alexandru Plagino – Râmnicu Sarat, prințului Wittgenstein – Bacău, Leon Ghica – Cahul, Mihail Kogălniceanu – Iași, Gheorghe Bibescu – Mehedinți, Alexandru Ioan Cuza – Covurlui, Mihail Obrenovici - Gorj etc).

    The execution of the atlas was begun in the year 1863, starting from the idea that all the chancelleries of urban and rural authorities, all the schools of towns and townships, and all military detachments should possess a copy of the country’s map, the general one (which had been published in 1859) as well as the map of the district where they were located. The 32 maps were printed in 500 copies each. Every district was allotted 400 copies; 100 copies were kept and combined in this atlas. Consequently, its worth all the greater since only 100 copies were ever executed.


    Dimitrie Papazoglu was born in Bucharest on March 28th 1811, as “the son of a first class man of commerce and highborn nobleman from the city of Slatina”. In 1815 he flees, together with his parents, to Ploeşti, then to Câmpina, because of the plague. From 1817, he enrols in Vardalà’s school. In the year 1821, fleeing with his family, in order to escape the Greek revolutionary movement, to Braşov, he frequents the Saxon school, where he learns German, Hungarian, and English. In 1827, returning to the countryside, he takes drawing lessons from French painter Jaquin. Three years later he joins the recently organized national army, as a cadet of Regiment I Infantry, Battalion no. 2, Company no. 5, and is sent to Craiova, where the army is being put in order by Russian general Staroff, having as regiment commander colonel Em. Băleanu. In the year 1831 he follows his regiment to Bucharest, in order to keep “watch” around the Capital, harrowed by cholera. He is made sub-lieutenant the same year, when the officers are awarded epaulettes for the first time, in Russian fashion. Then, he becomes commander of guard post at the Danube border at Olteniţa (pickets by now have replaced border captainships); in this capacity he is promoted to lieutenant. În 1833 he is named “comandir” of Company no. 1 of Regiment 2, then also serving in Focşani, Telega, then in 1836 in Bucharest and Ploeşti, and later two years in Brăila; in 1839 he is in Bucureşti, whence he is sent to Celeiul din Romanaţi, guarding the Danube alongside his unit. In 1840 he is moved to Regiment 2, under the command of the excellent instructor col. Engel. The following year, he is sent with a battalion to Zimnicea, and thence, in forced march, to Brăila, where the “Bulgarian uprising” had erupted, occasion on which he was decorated with the Nişan Eftihar order. He marries in 1843, in Bucharest; shortly thereafter he is transferred to Calafat “when for the first time pickets were built on pillars at the Danube, and when Turkey gave 4 cannons to the Romanians”. In 1846, he returns to Bucharest, where he stands out in the army’s efforts of rescue and order maintenance amidst the great fire of the Capital. During the ’48 Revolution, on September 13th, while on duty at the Dealul Spirei barracks, he fights the Romanian army convoy entering Bucharest. Sent afterwards to join the Turkish leaving Cotroceni for Craiova as a batman to the respective Turkish division commander, he serves as a linking between the Turkish and Russian armies stationing in Oltenia’s capital. In 1850 he is named adjutant to Russian general Danieleschi, commander of the Bucharest garrison. During the Crimean War, he receives confidential tasks from the chiefs of the Russian army. In 1855, after a service of 25 years in the army, Prince Gh. Ştirbei promotes him to major of Battalion no. 2, Regiment II in Brăila. After a short time, Papazoglu retires from the army. Thereafter, free of duty, he occupies his time with drawing and publishing historical lithographical pictures, portraits of rulers, views of old monuments of the country, of Traian’s bridge “just as it could be seen at the lowering of the waters”, Leon Vodă Tomşa’s monument, and others. It was also him who published the first map of the United Romanian Principalities “of a square fathom”, in 1300 copies, and made in the fashion of the Austrian map. As a result of his activity, Papazoglu is appointed, in 1860, a commissary tasked with the revision of monasteries in the districts of Olt, Muscel, Dâmboviţa, and Prahova. In this capacity, he inspects 60 monasteries, classifying precious objects and art objects he identifies there, drawing, copying inscriptions, the better part of which he published by his own means. He has left behind depictions of the Union of the Principalities, the Battle of Dealu Spirei, the Parade in Craiova, portraits of rulers with their signatures in facsimile, as well as portraits of Prince Cuza and Lady Elena. Of the latter, he has sent copies to “the officers in the detachment which partook in the fight with the Poles at Costangalia”, and 50 copies he donated to the church of the township, “where there lie buried those who fell in that clash”.

    His works also include a Romanian and French language guide of the Danube’s course, and an “Orthodox Reply against Renan’s Critic, for the Life of Jesus”, both published in 1864.

    In the year 1864, a publicat Dimitrie Papazoglul also published the “Geographical and Statistical Atlas of Romania”, which comprised detailed maps of the 32 districts of Romania, as well as numerous pieces of statistical information, remarkably interesting and valuable for the modern history of our country.

    Papazoglu also practised archaeology. He was a commissary of the Ministry of Instruction alongside Alexandru Odobescu, Bolliac, and Alexandru Pantelimon, as together they studied the archaeological vestiges and places of worship throughout the country. In 1864, he is officially sent on an archaeological expedition throughout the districts of Romania, where over the course of 4 months he discovers a few ignored historical monuments, and collects on behalf of the museum 115 objects, one of which was a great stone sarcophagus. His private museum was visited in 1865 by French archaeologists Budry and Boissier, sent here to study archaeology by Napoleon III; Frenchmen Baligot – Cuza’s secretary, and Marsillac, editor of the Bucharest-based French magazine La voix de la Roumanie, accompanied the guests.

    Dimitrie Papazoglu had a special preoccupation with the history of Bucharest, his most well-known work remaining his “History of the Founding of the City of Bucharest, the Capital of Romania”, a volume published in 1891.

    Major Papazoglu passed away in the year 1892 and was buried at the Cernica Monastery near Bucharest.