Every superhero is to some extent defined by his hometown, but perhaps none more so than Batman and his beloved Gotham City. As we’ve seen in Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight trilogy, the fictional metropolis isn’t a mere backdrop for his vigilante shenanigans, but the very stage upon which the war between good and evil is waged. It’s for the soul of that city, in all its ugliness and all its splendor, that Batman sacrifices everything he has.

So it’s nice to finally get an opportunity to get to know one of the most significant aspects of the Nolan Batman universe. Brandon T. Snider, author of The Dark Knight Manual, has posted an officially approved map of Gotham City, with labeled parks, neighborhoods, and landmarks. Check it out after the jump.

Buy Snider’s book here.

Snider’s map looks like one for an actual, non-fictional city, and as such there are some key locales from the movies that aren’t highlighted. But fans with sharp memories will be able to figure some of them out anyway. For example, Wayne Tower isn’t indicated by name, but as Blastr points out, it’s established in Batman Begins as being located where all the rail lines converge around Midtown. It still does nothing to answer the question of exactly how Batman (spoiler alert!) got back to Gotham in The Dark Knight Rises, though.

Gotham City is almost as old as its hometown hero, having first been introduced in Batman #4 in 1940, and like Batman itself has undergone several transformations under the years. Nolan’s version of it draws in elements of Chicago, Pittsburgh, London, Vancouver, and more, although — as the name suggests — New York City has long been another primary inspiration for the fictional city.

Writer Bill Finger explained in The Steranko History of Comics that he’d considered naming it Civic City, Capital City, and Coast City before he settled on Gotham City. “I flipped through the New York City phone book and spotted the name ‘Gotham Jewelers’ and said, ‘That’s it,’ Gotham City,” he said. “We didn’t call it New York because we wanted anybody in any city to identify with it.”

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