It began on a canal in Venice and ended via a specially deconstructed National Library of Australia window  – it was too big to come through the front door  -  but one of the rarest maps in the world, the 1450 Fra Mauro Map of the World, has finally taken pride of place in the Library’s   Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita to Australia exhibition.

Years of planning went into bringing this 2.4 metre square treasure, the greatest of all medieval maps to Canberra – not only because it had to come across the world, but because in its 600-year-life, it had never left its home in the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice for an exhibition.

The Fra Mauro Map of the World, and the National Library’s newly acquired Archipelagus Orientalis, by master cartographer Joan Blaeu, along with many other of the world’s greatest maps, go on show from today (7 November 2013) in Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita to Australia for an exclusive season at the National Library in Canberra.

Director-General of the National Library Ms Anne-Marie Schwirtlich said this exhibition of maps, including treasures from the Vatican, the British Library, the Bibliotheque nationale de France as well as from Australia’s best collections,  is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the greatest maps in the world, under one roof, for free.

‘This remarkable exhibition would not have been possible without the generous support of these lenders who allowed their treasures to travel across the world for Australians to see and our exhibition sponsors,’ she said.

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Sally Hopman                                      0401 226 697