Piri Reis (Reis: a military rank), the Genius Turkish admiral also known as Muhittin Piri, was born in Gallipoli in 1470. Besides being an admiral, Piri Reis is primarily known as a geographer and cartographer with his irreproachable, beyond the time maps and charts. He started marine when he was a child near Kemal Reis, who is a seafarer in the Mediterranean Sea. With Sultan II. Bayezid’s call from seafarers to participate Ottoman Navy, he began government supported privateering and was captained of Egypt and took part in the 1516-17 Ottoman conquest of Egypt.
After the Oman and Basra campaign, a negative and accusing report about him was prepared and sent to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Because of the intrigue in the Ottomans, Piri Reis was beheaded in 1554 by the rescript of the Sultan. It is known that Piri Reis, whose all inheritance was confiscated, had notes and observations. As a result of his prodigy, he wrote Kitab-ı Bahriye (Book of Navigation) which is admitted to be the world’s first guide book of navigation; drew the first world map in 1513, and drew the second in 1528. The map is illustrated in nine different colours and drawn on gazelle skin. It is 86 cm long, 61 cm wide at the upper and 41 cm wide at the lower edge. The map shows mountains in embossed design, the rivers in thick lines and shallow places in red points, stony places with drawings of common plant, animal pictures, and notes about regions. When we examine the protected pages of these maps, it is obviously seen that all details impossible to be known during that period are irreproachably shown and valid today. The most prominent point making these maps important is that all details of America Continent were included before the continent was discovered. These maps include lands and details unknown during that time, and the cartographic details are valid even today. This situation put Piri Reis to world agenda; Scholars study on how these maps were drawn and try to find out Piri Reis’ this miraculous secret. However, the issues on the maps are not limited. More miracles and secrets emerge when these maps are examined in detail:
• The maps include details that no European had known before America was discovered in 1500s. And the Andes had been shown with topographical details before Peru was discovered by Pizarro.
• The maps have the view as if they were drawn with satellite observation.
• The maps show the under icecap topographic details of Greenland and Antarctica.
• Compass roses were used with azimuths radiating from them instead of latitude and longitude grids. These azimuths symbolise the certain energy centres of the world, and these centres point the pyramids in Cairo.
• The underlying geometry behind Piri Reis’ map based upon the use of 8x8 grids which produce 16 wind rose wit intervals of 22, 5 degrees. The map had full knowledge of advanced astronomy, mathematics, navigation skills that’s why had indeed the ability to accurately measure the spherical globe.
• At the map drawn in 1513, Piri Reis had shown Africa, America, and South Pole which was discovered in 1818, and even glaciers in details which were melted 6000 years
• Although Piri Reis was an admiral of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, he gave detailed information about the north of Europe, the west of Africa America and the poles These hard to explain mysteries arouse interests of scholars. Moreover, if the centre points and the degrees between them are multiplied and divided to 360, it equals to the tear he was beheaded. The centre of the map is Cairo where he was beheaded. Admitting Piri Reis World Map to be a masterpiece of the world’s cartography and documentary heritage, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) declared 2013 the year of Piri Reis on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the map he drew up. It is a pertinent decision to admit Piri Reis with his works and studies as a world heritage according to us; we have no doubt that he will be on world agenda for a long time. It is easily understood that Piri Reis sailed consciously not only to the direction where the wind blows but also to his target and prospect. So, let’s salute Piri Reis all together, and finish our article with his idiom “Sail is manmade; the power is divine”.