Friday, August 31, 2012

[ePalestine] aljazeera: Liberate the Illés Relief (by Maryvelma Smith O'Neil)

Liberate the Illés Relief 

The Illes Relief is a prized treasure that should be returned to Geneva rather than squandered in Jerusalem. 

BY Maryvelma Smith O'Neil 
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2012 18:34 

Deep within an ancient citadel in Jerusalem rests an extraordinarily rare relief map. It tells an intriguing tale of two cities - Jerusalem and Geneva - a tale which deserves to be heard by a wider audience.

The model relief was made by Stephan Illés, an enterprising young Hungarian Catholic, who arrived in Jerusalem in 1864. He spent his days quietly binding books to earn a living, but escaped after dark into a marvellous miniature world of his own creation. From 1872 to 1873, he painstakingly crafted a 4.5 by 5 metre (15 by 16ft) 3D model to make what came to be known as the Illés Relief - a 19th century Google Map of Jerusalem.

Maryvelma Smith O'Neil 
Dr Maryvelma Smith O'Neil is a member of the faculty at Webster University, Geneva, and lectures on the histories of Jerusalem and art history. After an extended sojourn in Israel, she became an activist for Palestinian statehood. She is currently working on a book on the cultural history of Heaven. 


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