What did China’s capital look like before everyone had a camera in their pocket? This rare historical footage gives us all a unique look at Beijing just under a century ago.

In an era where everything is digitally recorded, either in photo or video form, it’s hard to imagine a time where the only record of day-to-day happenings were simply written or verbal, which makes this video footage from Beijing in the 1920s all the more intriguing.

Released by Library and Archives Canada and uploaded onto Sino video-sharing website, the archival footage was shot at a time when video technology was brand new. Where we now see skyscrapers and paved roads there are single-story structures and dirt streets. Instead of cars whizzing by, we can see horse-drawn carriages and rickshaws. Ignoring the differing fashion, perhaps the only similarity between Beijing then and now are the crowds of people, many of whom stop and gawk at the camera—something few of them are likely to have seen before.




If you’d like to see how much society can change in just a few short decades, this footage of 1955 Beijing shows how drastically life changed for its citizens in only 30 or so years. It’s amazing to see how far humanity has come in such a short space of time!

Source: Sina Video via The Nan Fang
Images: Sina Video