33 Historical Aerial Photos Of The World’s Great Cities

Published April 6, 2018
Updated June 25, 2018

These historical aerial photos of New York, Paris, London, and others reveal the planet's most astounding cities like you've never seen them before.

Historical Aerial Photos Hindenburg
Boston Molasses Disaster
Egyptian Pyramids From Above
Golden Gate Bridge Under Construction
33 Historical Aerial Photos Of The World’s Great Cities
View Gallery

When we're stuck down here on the ground, even the most exciting cities can eventually seem dull. But, when we look at these same cities from high above, they can seem like totally different places.

Throughout history, aerial photography has served to showcase these new and exciting perspectives, as well as something else: change. Cities are in a state of constant evolution. It seems that almost every year a new building makes its mark and changes the skyline.

Take New York City for example. Historical aerial photos from the mid-1800s through even the 1920s show an unremarkable plot of land. This undeveloped New York had few buildings taller than 10 stories and virtually no skyscrapers. Today, the New York skyline obviously looks quite different.

Even cities that are a fraction of the size of New York both in the U.S. and around the world are of course still remarkable when seen from above — even if you'd never think so from the ground.

See for yourself in the gallery of historical aerial photos of cities above.

Interested in more amazing images of cities from dizzying heights? Check out Aerial Cities on Smithsonian Channel, premiering at 8 p.m. on April 8, 2018.


After this look at historical aerial photos, check out some more of the most astounding aerial photography from around the world. Then, check out these popular interesting photos from all around the world.

Katie Serena
Katie Serena is a New York City-based writer and a staff writer at All That's Interesting.
Close Pop-in
Like History Uncovered On Facebook

Get The Most Interesting Stories From History In Your Feed