Karte des westlichen Russlands (KdwR)

(index map)

The Karte des westlichen Russlands offered here is a large scale (1:100,000) topographic series containing 437 sections of western Russia published by the Prussian military at the turn of the century through WW1. It is based on information taken from other map systems by both Russian and Austrian militaries. The images are a rich source of information containing the names and locations of thousands of communities, from cities to small villages and agricultural colonies. Coverage is from the northern edge of Austrian Galicia through all of Congress Poland, western parts of Wolynia, Minsk and most of Grodno, Wilna, Kovno and Courland gubernias.

Languages and Names

Each map is named by its largest community and sections bordering other countries are named for the largest town on the Russian, rather than Prussian or Austrian side. Town naming conventions vary between German and Polish spellings, with some communities in Lithuanian and larger communities noted occasionally in Cyrillic alphabet parenthetically. A German language guide to Polish pronunciation is included at the bottom right-hand margin of most maps. In a few sections a Lettish or Latvian pronunciation guide is found instead of Polish. In the bottom left-hand margin symbols for transportation routes are often included.

Cartographic Editions and Versions

Some editions of KdwR appeared before the turn of the century and newer editions at the beginning of, and during the war. The mixture of styles, versions and editions offered here are primarily from the 20th century. Among the many editions released, four distinct styles are evident: The two earlier styles appear in monochrome and two later types colored. The monochrome versions of these maps employed an older system for depicting relief called hachures. This is exhibited in the sections Korelitschi-S27 and Lipno-D30. Some sections are transitional, employing both monochrome hachures and newer brown contour lines, as in Drobin-F31 and Wyszogrod-F32 where the left quarter of the maps is given in monochrome, hachure style. The Krasnostaw-M38 section offers us a striking comparison of the old hachure and new contour line styles in the upper left center of the map. 

In a late colored style during the war, areas of brown shading replaced the system of brown contour lines. In many of these the inscription Kreigsausgabe (war edition) appears in the upper margin of the section as in Dunaburg T18, another transitional version. This section features the newer brown shading along the entire right quarter of the map. Korzec-U39 is a good example of this late wartime edition with brown shading completely replacing contour lines. Other forms of cartographic economy may be evident in these late editions as well. However, to underscore the fact that there were many versions, the section Dorbiany-H17 is marked Kreigsausgabe, but still employs the brown contour lines. This section includes the Lettish pronunciation guide in lower right margin.

Date of publication is typically found along the bottom margin often at the extreme right.

Boundaries and Symbols

National (Prussian, Austrian, Russian), provincial (guberniia), and administrative (uyezd) boundaries are often included on the maps. The transition between Prussia and the western edge of Congress Poland (Russia) is represented in striking detail in the many sections along this boundary. Guberniia and uyezd (Gouvernement, Kreis) symbols are typically listed in the upper margin of most maps (sometimes bottom left) and are found as bubbles in the body of the maps. In the Plonszk-G31 section, provincial and administrative symbols are placed at the bottom left and a transportation key is at the lower right where a pronunciation guide is otherwise typically found.

    The colored editions offer more symbols than those in monochrome style with postal and local administrative offices marked, as well as religious structures and burial grounds. Most non-Christian cemeteries on these maps are assumed to be Jewish and are noted adjacent to town names on the access pages with a "c" in parenthesis; an "s" is included where a synagogue symbol is visible. Symbols for mosques are visible in a few locations, notably in the Wilna-Q23 (north in Wilna city) and in the community of Kruszyniany in the Zabludowo-N29 section. Other symbols of interest mark breweries, distilleries, taverns, brick kilns, and private estates with the word Gut. Numbers in bold type under community names indicate number of dwellings at the time of survey (probably by Russians) and italicized numbers mark elevations. Referring to the legend and the glossary will assist viewers in decoding the world of these maps. The center section of the Legend Schrift-Erlauterungen is particularly useful with its German terms and abbreviations, parenthetically in Polish. Most German terms are translated in the glossary.


We thank mapywig.org, the Library of Congress and UC Berkeley for this valuable resource.