Before and After Photos of The World
Change is the only constant. Things rise and fall in the long river of time, and often washed away without leaving the slightest trace. Throughout the last century, we witness some of the greatest changes that took place in human civilization - the world was a different place then, and what once was is no longer. And now, let's look at the changes that took place around the world, and sail on the rolling river shores of changes.
Hong Kong, 1960s - Now
Hong Kong witnessed waves upon waves of changes in the last 60 years - from the British Colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty, from an entrepot to a finance hub...it's hard to find the constant that remains. Pictured here is the Kowloon Peninsula, overlooking from Fei Ngo Shan, one of the highest peaks in the area. What was once a relatively empty field is now filled with staggering skyscrapers.
Kyiv, Ukraine, 1970s - Now
Since its independence in 1991, Ukraine underwent several revolutions and came to be the country that it is today. However, something changes, yet something remains - pictured here is the city center of the capital, Kyiv. The buildings on the main street remain relatively the same, but the people and the lights transformed it into a different place.
San Francisco, USA, 1930s - Now
If you are going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair...and to visit the Golden Gate Bridge of course. The bridge that couldn't be built was built in the 30s, linking San Francisco to Marin County. Here is a picture of a before and after comparison, where one of them was taken when it was still under construction. An amazing feat if you think about it.
New York, USA, 1930s - Now
New York New York, everybody wants to be a part of it, especially in the 30s. And the most iconic thing about it apart from Frank Sinatra? Actually, there are too many of them that we couldn't really pick - Times Square, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Scorsese... but the Empire State Building has to be one of them. Upon its completion in 1931, it was, for some time, the tallest building in the world. No better way to show off that American might.
London, UK, 1950s - Now
London calling to the underworld. Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls. Yes, you boys and girls, London's calling. First time in England? London is probably your destination. And the thing that defined London? After the queen's corgis, it would probably be Big Ben. The first picture was taken from the tower itself in the 1950s, where the second picture was taken nearby since we couldn't find a picture from the same angle. But you get the idea - especially with the skyscrapers lurking in the background.
Palace of Versailles, France, 1918 - Now
How times have changed over the course of one century. Pictured here is the Palace of Versailles, with the above picture depicting the signing of the Treaty of Versailles that ended WWI. What was once a crowded hall is now empty, save for a few tourists these days. And can you imagine those who were in the picture were some of the most important people in the world? The times they're a-changing.
Berlin, Germany, 1960s - Now
In the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, the already divided city of Berlin was further separated, physically this time, by a concrete wall. The Berlin Wall would become the symbol of the divide between the East and West, and between Communism and Capitalism. Checkpoint Charlie was one of the most famous crossing points between East and West Berlin. And today, what was once a heavily guarded outpost had slowly disappeared, along with the Cold War itself.
Beijing, China, 1910s - Now
If you have been to Beijing, you might have visited the Forbidden Palace that is not so forbidden anymore. If you haven't, you might have seen it from Bertolucci's The Last Emperor. Haven't seen the movie either? You should. The movie was the first foreign film to get permission to film there by the way. Here is a comparison between the 1910s and now, when China was still ruled by the Qing Dynasty. Did any of the men there foresee that it'd be packed with people from everywhere around the world today?
Paris, France, 1919 - Now
Arc de Triomphe, what a befitting name for this occasion - or vice versa. You must have heard of the Arc de Triomphe, the Arc of Triumph, built to commemorate the victory of Napoleon. However, here in the first picture, they were there to commemorate their victory from WWI...a disastrous conflict that took millions of lives, burying the dreams of an entire generation in the begrimed trenches. When will we ever learn?
Casablanca, Morocco, 1920s - Now
Morocco is a romantic place, a place where the East meets the West, a collision between French romanticism and Arabic Orientalism. The Beat Generation also left their mark there. However, when it was still a French protectorate, before Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch there, Morocco looked very different back then. Pictured here is Casablanca (Yes, the Casablanca), around the 1920s, where you could still see the Frenchness in the air.
Palermo, Sicily, 1956 - Now
Things change and things stay. For a place with a long history like Palermo, changes only come to some places but not all. Pictured here is the Vucciria district in Palermo, Sicily. The buildings remain more or less the same, as the changes only corroded the exterior of it...or so it seems. The weathered paint is only covered up by layers upon layers of posters and graffiti.
Barcelona, Spain, 1940 - Now
Sagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic basilica built by architect Antoni Gaudí back in 1882, and the construction is still ongoing! It is estimated to be completed in 2026, so hopefully, we will witness its completion in our lifetime. Can you imagine a building that takes more than a century to build, witnessing all the changes around it? Impressive.
Shenzhen, China, 1990s - Now
1978 saw the beginning of China's reform and opening-up policy, aiming to catch up with the world economy after the missing years, stagnant and lagging behind the world's market. By 1980, different cities are opened up as special economic zones, with favorable policies aiming to attract foreign investments - Shenzhen is one of them. By the 1990s, the border city started to catch up with modern developments, and now, it is one of the biggest cities in China.
New York, USA, 1945 - Now
Gotta get in that New York state of mind and take that Greyhound on the Hudson River line. If the scene of brightly lit billboard signs everywhere doesn't scream USA, we don't know what will. Well, guess something never changes - the brands might not be the same, but the billboards remain.
Los Angeles, USA, 1963 - Now
Don't touch my bags if you please, mister customs man, cause we are comin' into Los Angeles. The land of hope and broken dreams - the city of angels smiled upon some and grant them their wishes, while others, well, not so lucky. Some got famous and some got desperate, as in life itself. The views might change, but luck doesn't.
If you ended up here - congratulations! Have you lived in any of these places? Would you prefer to live in those times or now? If you have a time machine, when'd you go back to? And where would you like to go? Feeling nostalgic? Why not share this with them and make them nostalgic as well?