Jerusalem, a sacred city to three of the worlds major religions, was depicted as four different images in Braun and Hogenberg's comprehensive collection of town views. In the first volume of Civitates Orbis Terrarum, two maps of Jerusalem are printed on one page. Using the same imaginary topography, one depicts the ancient city (from the time of King David to Jesus's crucifixion) while the other purportedly depicts the modern (16th century city), but is not very detailed.
In the second volume (displayed here), there is a more detailed and more realistic-appearing bird's eye view of the city. In this view, the city is viewed from the east looking west, as if the artist was standing on the Mount of Olives, the best vantage point for viewing the city. Muslim control of the city is represented by the five figures in oriental costume in the foreground and the buildings with domes and minarets topped with crescents.
This view records a Christian pilgrimage to the Holy City and, while unsigned, appears to be based on a drawing by Venetian artist Domenico dalle Greche, who accompanied a Czech nobleman, Voldrich Prefat z Vlkanova, on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1546. The account of this journey was published in 1563. Of the four dozen locations identified in the legend of the view, the majority refer to Christian sites and traditions.