[FIRST MASTER CITY PLAN OF BAKU / GERMAN-RUSSIAN MAP MAKERS] Plan sushestvuyushago i proektirovannago ragpolojenia gubernskago goroda Baku, c' ponazaniem'..., 1898-1900 g. [i.e. Plan of the existing and projected location of Baku

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NIKOLAUS [NIKOLAI] AUGUSTOVICH VON DER NONNE, (Russian urban engineer of ethnic German origin of Baku city), (1836-1906), Kartograficheskoye Zavedeniya A. Ilina [i.e. Cartographic Establishment of A. Ilyin], Sankt Peterburg [i.e. St. Petersburg], 1898.

COMPLETE TITLE: [FIRST MASTER CITY PLAN OF BAKU / GERMAN-RUSSIAN MAP MAKERS] Plan sushestvuyushago i proektirovannago ragpolojenia gubernskago goroda Baku, c' ponazaniem' predpolagaemago uregullirovaniia i rasprostraneniia, 1898-1900 g. [i.e. Plan of the existing and projected location of the provincial city of Baku, with an indication of the proposed settlement and expansion, 1898-1900].

Original chromo-lithograph map mounted on cloth. Oblong: 81x99 cm. In Russian. Slightly wear on extremities of layouts, fading, and foxing on paper. Otherwise a very good copy.

Important and very rare first master city plan of Baku, drawn by German / Russian architect, engineer, and mayor of the city (1898-1901) Von Der Nonne, printed in Russian in 1898; which he completed in sixteen months.

The map shows Mountainous terrain, Municipal boundary, Built-out plot, Empty plot, Transcaucasian State Railroad right of way, Cemeteries (existing and proposed), Portions of buildings that depart from street regulations, Existing piers and wooden structures, Transcaucasian State Railroad line, Horse-drawn Tram line, Gardens and boulevards (existing and proposed), Portion of the city's profitable land as well as buildings like National Art Museum of Azerbaijan (1888-1890), the building of the Mutual Credit Society (1887), a complex of hospital buildings (1888-1913.), Debuer's House (1891), etc.

Von der Nonne knew Baku well and he had served as Baku's city planning director from 1883 to 1895, after which he ran a private architectural firm in the city. In 1897, the City Duma (parliament) hired Von der Nonne to undertake a comprehensive expansion plan for Baku.

Rapid rate of building up of the city from Bailov cape to White city required to draw-up a complete general layout of Baku. The members of the city council affirmed this plan of Baku city prepared by Von der Nonne in 1898. This plan was reformed, edited, and republished lately (1911-1918) by Azerbaijani architect Mammad Hasan Hajinski (1875-1931) and remained a single master plan over the regulation of Baku built-up until 1930s.

"Von der Nonne laid a grid over the city in an attempt to bring unruly development under control and to guide rational future growth. The planned key holds four categories that make up the majority of the plan. Pink indicates constructed plots, most of which surround Icheri-sheher [i.e. City-inside] or sit against the Caspian seafront. Orange shows partially constructed plots that make up a large percentage of the plan and stretch to the north, west, and east of the constructed city. Light green designates existing and planned gardens and boulevards, which grow larger and more regular as they move away from the city center. Finally, brown denotes parts of existing structures that conflict with newly regularized streets and seafront zone. Brown, therefore, is the color of friction. It can be seen veining through the medieval Islamic core and the tightly packed traditional neighborhoods to the north and northwest of the forshtadt. Although there likely was more conflict between existing and proposed conditions than the map discloses, the existence of this category nonetheless reveals a degree of planning realism. Topographic lines are also faintly drawn in the background of the plan, even if the grid largely ignores the hilly terrain.

Despite its temporal persistence, the Von der Nonne plan was realized in ink alone. Private landowners consistently flouted regulating aspects of the plan, and successful commercial enterprises disregarded large-scale civic recommendations with the tacit approval of the city government. Von der Nonne had envisioned an ample public boulevard along the Caspian seafront, for instance, but the amenity was omitted in his final plan because the industrial piers were deemed too valuable by their owner, the Caucuses and Mercury Company, and by the city government. Nonetheless, the last pre-revolutionary plan for Baku made three specific proposals that the first Soviet general plan in 1927 would elaborate on: implantation of green space at multiple scales, limited demolition to make way for better connectivity, and establishment of a model urban worker neighborhood at the city's northern border.

When the Soviets took control of Baku, they inherited the 1898 plan of the city completed by the German architect Nikolaus Von der Nonne.

(Spatial Revolution: Architecture and planning in the Early Soviet Union).

Since Baku was the major port, the largest city, and the economic pearl of the Russian Empire's south; the Russian administration was especially concerned with its defense capabilities. The first urban plan took into consideration the possible vulnerability of the city. Square-shaped district development served to turn Baku into a fortress if needed.

Nikolaus Avgustovitch Von der Nonne (1836-1906) was born on 16 June 1836 to ethnic German family in Saint Peterburg Governorate. His father Johann Georg August Ernst Von der Nonne (1798-1860) was a German nobleman originally from the city of Bodenwerder, Lower Saxony. His mother Anna (1810-1891) belonged to the baronial family of Von Tornau. He adhered to Lutheranism. His brother named Michael von der Nonne (1838-1919) was a state architect-engineer of Erivan Governorate and a member of the City Duma. Nikolaus was educated in the First Cadet Corps in St. Petersburg, after which on June 11, 1855, he was promoted to officer and assigned to the 6th Sapper Battalion, which at that time participated in the Crimean War and the siege of Sevastopol. In 1856 he was transferred to the military service in the Caucasus, participating in the Caucasian War. He received the Order of St. George (4th class) on 8 September 1859 as poruchik for battles for the village of Shauri. From 1864 to 1881 he served in different departments under the Viceroyalty of Caucasus. He was promoted to the rank of colonel in 1880.

In 1881, he was appointed as the provincial engineer of the Construction Department of the Provincial Board of the Baku Governorate, continuing to be listed among the engineering troops. In August 1883, Von der Nonne transferred to the service in the city duma, where he was appointed chief urban engineer at the Baku city government. On January 18, 1884, he was elected chairman of the Baku branch of the Russian Technical Society (IRTS). He was dismissed from service for domestic reasons with a uniform and a pension by the Imperial Order on November 18, 1884. He personally met Alexander III during his visit to Baku on October 8-10, 1888. After this, he worked as an architect as well and built the Palace of De Boure in 1891. He submitted a petition to the city government to dismiss him from service due to illness on September 15, 1894, but only in October 1894, he left the city service.

In 1898 he drew up the plan of Baku, which laid foundations of Baku as the modern city it is. By the time of the development of the general plan of Baku in 1898, the quarters located to the north of the Baku fortress were implemented in the form of a clear rectangular grid. According to Von der Nonne's plan, the projected area doubled the city's planned area.

He became mayor of Baku with a majority voting of the city duma and was approved by Prince Grigory Golitsyn in October 1898, started his official term on November 4, 1898. The mayor of Baku was at the same time the head of the city council and the director of the Baku branch of the Baku provincial prison guardian committee. In 1901, Von der Nonne has also elected an honorary justice of the peace in Baku. Only 3 years later in 1901, he retired from his position, citing illness. After his resignation, he moved to Tbilisi, where his daughter lived.

He died on 13 August 1908, aged 72 in Tbilisi, and was buried in Stavropol, next to his parents.


The publisher of the map, the Cartographic Establishment of A. Ilyin was founded in 1859 by the General Staff officers Alexey Afinogenovich Ilyin (1832-1889) and Vladimir Poltoratsky (1830-1886). The firm was originally known as the Chromolithography of Poltoratsky, Ilyin, and Co., but after Poltoratsky's departure in 1864, its name was changed to solely reflect Ilyin's stewardship. Alexey Ilyin served as a cartographer for the Military Topographic Depot of the General Staff and was eventually promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General. He thus had privileged access to government map archives, granting him a great competitive edge over his rivals. After the death of Alexey Afinogenovich, one of his sons, Alexey Alexeevich Ilyin (1857-1942) assumed control over the firm. By 1882, the enterprise reached its zenith, producing up to 6 million impressions, accounting for around 90% of all civilian cartographic products published in Russia. The company prospered until it was nationalized following the Communist Revolution of 1917. This map is the most detailed and accurate record of the transportation system as it existed in Russia in the mid-1890s and is, therefore, a key primary document relating to a critical period not only in Russian history but in the history of geopolitics throughout Eurasia. Ilyin issued the map for use by government agencies, transport contractors, and large commercial concerns. Examples of the map would have been mounted to walls of their offices and exposed to heavy use, and thus such large wall maps have a low survival rate. (Stanford Map Collection).