Globe of Gottorf
The Globe of Gottorf (German: Gottorper Globus or Gottorfer Globus, Danish: Den gottorpske kæmpeglobus or Gottorpsk kæmpeglobus) is a 17th-century large globe of the earth in the Kunstkamera museum in St. Petersburg in Russia. It measures 3.1 meters in diameter.
The globe details a map of the earth’s surface on the outside and a map of star constellations with astrological and mythological symbols on the inside. Turned by water power, it demonstrates the “movement” of the heavens to those seated inside in candlelight. It was a predecessor of the modern planetarium.
Modern German spells the name of Gottor(p) with an F, not a P
Transport to Russia
Initially, it was placed in a special pavilion on the Tsaristin meadow (now the Field of Mars). It is known that the Tsar frequently examined the Gottorf globe in the morning, such was the interest he took in it.
In 1717, the globe was moved to the tower of the Kunstkamera building.
Destruction by fire
It was severely damaged in a fire in 1747, and its surface was destroyed.
Elizabeth of Russia had the globe rebuilt, but strictly speaking it was no more than a replica since not much was left after the fire. It was built and painted anew using the original wooden ribs.
Temporary return to Germany
The original globe now resides in the Kunstkamera, a museum in St. Petersburg.
German charitable foundations agreed to build a near-replica of the globe in the 1990s, but this time in steel, with electric motors and lights, and install it at Gottorf Castle.
- Official russian website of the Kunstkammer with photos and short description of the original globe
- German website detailing the history of the original AND replica globes
- Website of the Gottorf castle with details of the replica globe