5 March 2012 marks 500 years since the birth of the outstanding Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator. The National Library of Russia possesses the country's largest collection of his works (over 20 volumes). The exhibition "Atlant of World Cartography" was held at the Library in March 2012 to celebrate this anniversary. Original maps and atlases of the great master were exhibited in public for the first time.
It was to Gerardus Mercator that we owe the invention of the method of constructing nautical charts which is used to this day. However, he was more than just a cartographer. At different times, he distinguished himself as a creator of scientific instruments, an engraver and calligrapher. Equally impressive are his deep interest in mathematics, astronomy, cosmography, history, philosophy and theology, as well as in the study of terrestrial magnetism.