The leading cities of the world have changed considerably over the last century. We have found four photographs that give you an insight into just how much. By Anuja Dixit


Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

A Century Ago

Istanbul is the old city of Constantinople, often referred to as one the most legendary cities in the whole human history. If you could travel through time to a century back, you’d find a landscape of medieval fortresses standing stark and predominant in the dusty, unpaved pathways. Not today. Now, Istanbul is full of modern buildings, pitched roads, and greenery, and a confluence of Asian and European cultures. Hagia Sophia is one of the many symbols of this dream city. Since it was built in AD 360, the monument has been modified and used for different purposes. The area around Hagia Sophia is now developed into gardens and embankments for visitors.

St. Paul Cathedral from the Blackfriars bridge, London

A Century Ago
Credits: London St. Paul Cathedral/ Flickr

St. Paul Cathedral has forever been an important part of London’s skyline, best viewed from the Blackfriars bridge on River Thames. This 995-foot long bridge was designed by Robert Mylne in an Italianate style with nine semi-elliptical arches in Portland stone. Back in the day, this place offered a great spot for artists to sit and paint St. Paul’s Cathedral. The bridge was however rebuilt to accommodate heavy vehicles and foot traffic, while the background to St Paul’s Cathedral was populated by modern skyscrapers.

Soochow Creek, Shanghai

A Century Ago
Source: China Rhyming/ Wikipedia

The Soochow Creek in Shanghai is named after the city of Suzhou in Jiangsu. Back in the day, this area was nothing more than its major landmark—the Wusong river—and an easy meeting spot for locals because there was little chance that you’d get lost. The name of the area changed when Shanghai became the treaty port in 1843. When Westerners arrived at the port, they began referring to it as Suzhou Creek when they discovered that this port was the most convenient route to Suzhou. In 1997, the place was cleaned after the launch of an environmental overhaul and a proper sewage system was built.

Times Square, New York

A Century Ago
Credits: Media Source

Back in 19th century, Times Square wasn’t that crowded or glitzy. With drug peddlers, homeless encampments, and dodgy movie theatres, the place was known as the sleaziest place in New York. The place is now a major commercial centre, tourist attraction, and entertainment hub, brightly adorned with billboards and advertisements. Earlier known as The Longacre Square, the place was renamed when The New York Times office moved to a skyscraper here.