Another great charity shop find: a jigsaw, map, and quiz all in one. For just 20p! What a bargain! Let’s take a look at it in more detail.

Jig-Map box

The map is based on the Mediterranean and we can see various activities taking place on the waves – pleasure cruising, Marseilles shipping, an Arab dhow, the Suez canal, and a Maltese vessel that I can’t quite make out the name of. The internet tells me it is a Dghajsa.

Jigmap whole

The jigsaw itself is a very odd shape, and most of the pieces are cut in an irregular manor to add to the challenge. Some of the pieces are rounded oblongs containing place names – they form the quiz part of the puzzle. You put them to one side, then add them in when the puzzle is complete. It’s not too taxing for a seasoned geographer, but is a nice touch.

Looking at the finished puzzle, there is an interesting choice of illustrations for each country. Britain is not shown, but there is a cross-channel swimmer and some puffins on the Channel Islands. I had no idea the Channel Islands were famous for their puffins – I always associate the Farne Islands with puffins – but I was wrong.

France is represented by Bleriot, the Le Mans 24-hour race, the Eiffel tower, the Bay of Biscay (famous for bad weather, clearly), vineyards, the Riviera (the weather is much better on this side of l’Hexagone), and the Pyrenees.

Over towards Switzerland, there is an Alpine scene and a pine marten. These little beasties are found across Europe, even showing up at Swiss football matches.

Jigmap NW

Moving on to Spain, the text on the jigsaw is a bit indistinct here, so I’ve shown a close-up of the box. Unfortunately the printing is misregistered, but you can still make out some fandango dancers, bullfighting, holiday resorts, and the orange groves around Seville. Portugal is represented by sardines; everyone here is either fishing for them or washing them.

Jigmap Spain

Italy’s economy seems to be based entirely on tourism, but it is particularly well served, with a Venetian Gondola, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Florence’s Ponte Vecchio, the Colosseum in Rome, and Stromboli. Sicilian stereotypes are neatly avoided with a nice picture of a painted cart.

Jigmap Italy

Napoleon is stuck in Corsica and he doesn’t look too happy about it. Could be worse though, at least he doesn’t have to wear Sardinian national dress.

Jigmap Corsica Sardinia

On the other side of the Adriatic,  there are some Balkan farmers, growing wheat in Yugoslavia and rearing pigs in Albania. Romania is represented by an oilfield (and uses the alternative spelling Rumania, which fell out of favour in the later 20th century). South of the oilfields are the Iron Gates of Orsova, which it turns out, are not gates at all, but a valley on the Romanian/Serbian border. Some say it is the second most popular attraction in Orsova. Bulgaria is recognised as the largest global producer of perfumery essential oils (according to Wikipedia – you’ll have to search the page to find out though, it’s buried in the Economy section) with an image of rose cultivation. Finally, in this corner of the Mediterranean, we have Greece, home of the Parthenon and the Olympic flame, and Turkey with St Sophia, curing tobacco leaves, a farm worker, and some angora goats.

Jigmap NE

The southern edge of the jigsaw is not quite so detailed; Egypt features irrigation, a water seller, and of course, a pyramid and King Tutankhamun, but the remaining African countries are mainly notable for their wildlife. I’m not sure if this is Euro-centric snobbery or laziness on the part of the artist, but it should have been possible to find some items as obscure some of the ones mentioned above. For example, CarthageHannibal, Casablanca, the amphitheatre of El Jem, oil and gas fields, etc.

Then again, this map is remarkably similar to maps of the Roman Empire, so maybe having followed the same outline, there just wasn’t enough room. Anyway, the flora and fauna on show here are an asp in Libya, a camel train and griffon vultures in Tunisia, an Algerian Kasba, and Morocco’s date palms and barbary apes.

Jigmap box SE

Jigmap Tunisia

Jigmap Morocco