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Perthes, Haack and Heidi. Heidi books - From Gotha to the World
A 45 minute documentary for MDR
The Perthes family wrote world-famous publishing history in Gotha. Justus Perthes founded a map publishing house here, which made the residential town the center of geography in the 19th century. His most famous product is still known all over the world. The Heidi books by Johanna Spyri, now a Swiss national treasure. The first books were published in Gotha and started their triumphal march around the globe from here.
Today, the Perthes Map Collection is one of the largest and most beautiful map collections in Europe with 185,000 maps, 120,000 books, 1650 copper plates, journals, atlases. On a total of 800 meters, the Perthes Forum in Gotha stores the history of discovery of the world, maps tell about the colonization of entire continents, but also about climate change. This unique archive holds world knowledge and is still alive today as a place of research and science.
The film goes in search of traces and explores why Gotha was once the geographical center of the world. For this purpose, we dive into the archives of the collection, leaf through old maps and valuable atlases.
Together with researchers, restorers, curators, archivists, but also with former and active mapmakers, we discover the cosmos of Justus Perthes and tell the story from today's perspective.