As the years pass by, places and landscapes change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Over the decades, endless photos have been snapped from around our world. A small collection of history and photography buffs have sifted through these images to pair places up – taking photos from the present to compare with the past.
The wonderful results of this painstaking work can be seen in all their glory, with some comparative images stretching back over a hundred years. We’ve sifted through the re-photos archives to pull out a small selection for you to enjoy.
Come with us as we take a walk through history.
Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. (USA)
This first photo dates back to 1900 and shows a view of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. The US Capitol building is visible in the distance, with a street full of people waiting for the tram service and going about their daily grind.
The second photo shows a much more modern view of the same area – snapped in 2016. The tram lines now replaced with cycle paths and multiple vehicle lanes.
Palazzo Esposizioni Mobili, Mariano Comense, Italy
This original photo dates back to 1931 and shows a much less congested view of Palazzo Esposizioni Mobili.
The follow-up photograph shows far fewer powerlines, but a number of new buildings that have popped up on the surrounding skyline.
A room with a view, London
In some places, it takes far less time to pass for a skyline to change. This original image was taken from a bedroom window in London in 2012.
Just six years later, a number of new buildings can be seen both on the skyline itself and nearby too – one building even includes a garden on the roof. A small spot of greenery in an otherwise sprawling urban jungle.
The Strand Arcade, Sydney, Australia
In 1976, the Strand Arcade in Sydney was hit by a devasting fire. Despite the damage, restoration work began and the shopping centre was opened again in 1977. It thrives again now and the more recent image from 2018 shows the Strand Arcade in all its modern glory.
Viarmes Rue de Paris, France
The original view of the Rue de Paris in Viarmes dates back to 1912. Small children and a horse pulled cart fill the street – a common sight for the time. An agricultural shop can be seen across the road. This image originally made its way onto a postcard and can be seen with stamp and all.
Over 100 years later, the view hasn’t changed that much. The horse and cart replaced with cars and the shop has swapped for a bank but it’s certainly an easily familiar sight.
Beverly Hills Hotel, California, USA
An aerial view of Beverly Hills Hotel shows a relatively tame landscape with very little in the way of other buildings. This photo was snapped in 1918 and the modern view is quite different.
The follow-up image taken in 2018 shows not only more buildings but a wealth of trees that have sprung up over the years. The hotel’s grounds and buildings are even more impressive now than they were before too.
Wartime soldiers and shoppers
In this black and white photo from the 1940s, a throng of German army soldiers can be seen in the occupied city of Schagen, Holland. A mix of civilians also walk the streets, no doubt wary and worried about their surroundings.
Many years later in 2018, those same streets are occupied by cars and shoppers going about their daily business without the threat of an occupying force to bother them.
Emmabrug Alkmaar Netherlands
Another view from the Netherlands during wartime shows a quiet part of Holland prepared for an attack with tank traps and no doubt other defensive emplacements nearby.
The same view from more recent years makes it hard to believe what might have happened on those same streets all those years before. Most of the same buildings remain, but the metallic monstrosities are long gone.
Ulica Krakowska, Poland
A bombed out residential building on the streets of Poland captured in a photo from 1950 showing a time of misery and tragedy.
Decades later, repairs cover up the holes, blemishes and damage from the past. We wonder if current residents know of the history of their building and all that has passed in the years before.
Place de la Bourse, Brussels
A view of Place de la Bourse captured in 1900. In this original photo, pedestrians and horse drawn-carriages dominated the streets. The first tram lines were starting to spring up around this time and in the years that followed many more would appear too – with a total of 32 lines present in the area by 1957.
The building photographed here made up the stock market of the time and the hub of modernisation for the area.
The modern view, snapped over 117 years later still shows a busy street, but now the building is used for exhibitions and art shows. The area is also a popular location for rallies and demonstrations.
Place du Grand Sablon, Brussels
Another photograph from over a century before. This image shows the “Place du Grand Sablon” – in the historic city centre of Brussels. At this time the local area was host to market stalls where meat was sold on Friday and milk and cheese on a Saturday.
The current view looks more like a parking lot with far less character, but the surroundings are actually extremely popular among the wealthier members of society. With old bars and shops being replaced by chocolate shops, antique dealers and hotels.
Ypres station, Belgium
The horrors of the Great War hit Ypres station in Belgium in 1915. This photo tells of the damage and chaos raining all around the area at that time.
Over 100 years later, the same view looks very different with the building fully repaired and restored and modern roads having replaced the dirt tracks of years gone by. Life is no doubt far more peaceful too.
Horloge Saint-Chamas France
One of the oldest images on our list dates all the way back to 1860 and shows a street full of onlookers, no doubt mesmerised by the camera. An interesting and eye-catching aqueduct crosses the street and draws the eye as the central focus of the photo.
The same view over 158 years later shows the same aqueduct standing strong and the same ancient trees still lining the streets. The people are now replaced with parked cars, but otherwise, the view is remarkably similar.
Old bunker Alkmaar Flower shop, Netherlands
In 1945, this old war bunker is photographed with civilians standing casually nearby. A windmill is also visible in the background.
Years later, that same bunker is put to interesting use when it’s converted into a flower shop. The windmill is gone and the surroundings are more peaceful, if still as full of concrete and tarmac.
Burning Peterhof, St Petersburg, Russia
In Russia, during the Germany invasion, the Peterhof Palace was burnt and damaged by explosives. Many of the fountains in the grounds were destroyed too.
Restoration began after the war and continued on for the years that followed. The current view of the Peterhof shows the original building it all its magnificent glory.
Grenoble Rue Montorge, France
Another French photo from a century ago. This image shows some magnificently well-dressed men – Mr. Merceron, Mr. Maisonville and Mr. Chabrand. These men founded the bases of the Syndicate of Initiative of Grenoble and the Dauphine: First Syndicate of Initiative of France, and the future Tourist Offices.
The same view 100 years later hasn’t changed much at all but the tourist office has seemingly been replaced by an estate agent.
A much more rural photo dates back to 1887 and shows one of many road routes that were thought to be a major feat of engineering at the time – a roadway cutting through the hillside.
116 years later, the road is now tarmacked but otherwise the same. No attempt has been made to widen the road, despite the cars passing over it. The view is just as wonderful today as it was all those years before.
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, USA
This first photo of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was taken in 1980 and shows a brightly lit skyline as well as a long-exposure shot of traffic passing by.
Nearly a three decades later, the same view looks remarkably similar. The skyline has changed slightly, with the addition of new buildings and growing trees, but it’s also unmistakably familiar.
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
This original photo of the Eiffel Tower shows it under construction in the middle of 1888. Surrounding buildings can also be seen springing up in the area too.
In 2017, the same angle shows an equally busy view of the world. The fully built tower has been visited by many millions of people since its construction and the tower itself has also survived decades of wear and tear that included two World Wars and more.
Another snapshot of destruction and carnage from the first part of the 1900s. This image shows the wreckage of a church in France hit by an enormous “Paris Gun”. These were long-range, super heavy artillery cannons used by the Germans to bombard Paris during the war. Although considered superguns because of the distance they could fire, these artillery guns were actually not terribly successful as the fired payload was often relatively small.
Here the roof of the church had been hit causing it to collapse inwards and this time the gun did leave its mark – killing 88 people and wounding nearly as many.
99 years later, the church is a very different site. Fully reconstructed and in good use, the St-Gervais-et-St-Protais is now a much safer place of worship.
Australian Anzac Day
This original black and white photo from the 1940s shows the events of the Anzac Day Parade. A special event held to commemorate all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations”.
The same view shows the magnificent Sultan Abdul Samad Building hidden behind tourist buses instead of parade participants. The skyline has changed vastly in the 75 years that have passed since taking away some of the beauty.
Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
Many of the photos in this collection show a history of damage caused by the Germans during the wars, but this photo shows the results of their actions. The Russian army caused massive destruction as they swept through Germany and onward into Berlin. The capital buildings weren’t safe either.
The Reichstag building itself, wasn’t a Nazi monument though. It was actually designed and erected between 1884 and 1894.
The building was heavily gutted by the damage, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that restoration began in earnest. The modern building seen here has changed a lot as it was again gutted and reconstructed again in the 19It’s. It’s now one of the most visited attractions in Germany.
Martin-Luther-Denkmal vor Frauenkirche, Dresden, Germany
Dresden, Germany was subject to many allied bombing campaigns during World War II. This comparative image shows the damage done by the Allies to the German city during those years. Somehow, the surrounding buildings were destroyed, but the statue remained standing tall.
The Dresden Frauenkirche, the Lutheran church can be seen rebuilt and reconstructed in all its majesty. It was, however, left for over 50 years as a war memorial and it wasn’t until the reunification of Germany in 1994 that the building was reconstructed.
Pont des Arts, Paris, France
The photo from 1900 shows the Pont des Arts – a pedestrian bridge over the river Seine, France. This bridge leads from the Institut de France to the Louvre. As such, the bridge has always been an extremely popular tourist destination and offers a wonderful view of the surrounding area.
Here couples can be seen casually walking the bridge, one even has a sword strapped to his waist.
With a romantic view of the city of love, the bridge has always been a favoured haunt for couples and as such the railings of the bridge were often adorned with padlocks a romantic gesture of love. In 2015 though, the weight of the locks caused a portion of the railing to collapse and so the rest of the locks had to be forcibly removed.
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany
The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most well-known landmarks in all of Germany. It was originally constructed in 1791 and built as a monument during the Batavian Revolution.
During World War II, the Nazis used the gate as a symbol for their party. It managed to survive the war, but was badly damaged by bullets and explosions as the Russian Army moved into the city. Here, a Russian soldier can be seen with a camera standing in front of the monument.
The reconstructed gate was used for many memorial services in the years that followed including the official ceremony to mark the reunification of Germany. As a regular site for major historical events, the Brandenburg Gate has turned into a tourist hotspot and is now considered by many to be a symbol of European peace and unity.
The Palais Garnier Opera House, Paris, France
“The Opera Garnier decorated with swastikas for a festival of German music during the Occupation of Paris. The Germans organized a series of concerts in the occupied city, including by the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Herbert von Karajan.”
The Palais Garnier Opera House photographed in 2016 offers a much more peaceful view of Paris. The building is known as “probably the most famous opera house in the world…” mostly thanks to being the setting for the 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera. It also appeared as a centrepiece for subsequent adaptations of the novel into films and musicals.