Mappa Mundi & Chained Library Exhibitions, Herefordshire

Mappa Mundi & Chained Library Exhibitions, Hereford

Within the venerable Hereford Cathedral lies a historical treasure trove – the Mappa Mundi & Chained Library Exhibitions. These remarkable exhibits offer a fascinating foray into the medieval world, showcasing a rich tapestry of historical, cultural, and intellectual heritage.

The Mappa Mundi: A Medieval Masterpiece

At the heart of the exhibition is the Mappa Mundi, a remarkable artefact of the medieval era. This map, dating back to the late 13th century, is not just a geographic chart but a visual encyclopedia of the medieval worldview.

Measuring approximately 1.58 by 1.34 metres, it is one of the largest surviving medieval maps, renowned for its detail and intricacy.

The Mappa Mundi is a confluence of myth, religion, and geography. It depicts the history of humanity from the Garden of Eden to the known ends of the earth, represented in a circular form.

The map is resplendent with intricate drawings representing biblical scenes, exotic animals, and fantastical creatures, offering insights into how the medieval mind interpreted the world and its wonders.

The Chained Library: A Portal to the Past

Adjacent to the Mappa Mundi, the Chained Library is an equally mesmerizing spectacle. As one of the world’s few surviving chained libraries, it provides a unique glimpse into the world of literature and scholarship during the medieval and early modern periods.

This library houses a collection of over 1,500 books, including ancient manuscripts and significant early printed works.

The books in the Chained Library are still attached to their shelves by chains, a common practice in the era to prevent valuable manuscripts from being lost or stolen.

This setting offers visitors an authentic experience of historical knowledge preservation, reflecting the value and rarity of books during that time.

Address – Hereford Cathedral, 5 College Cloisters, Cathedral Close, Hereford, HR1 2NG
Telephone – 01432 374200


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