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See the First Photographs Ever Taken of Jerusalem

Since 1844, millions of photographs have probably been taken of Jerusalem. But these blurry snaps are the very first.

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Few places in the world are as revered, fought over and thought about as Jerusalem. For millenia, people have made pilgrimages here, often at great expense and great risk. So imagine for a second what it would be like to hear, from a young age, about this holy city, and then to see the first photographs ever taken of it:

These photos come from 1844 and were taken by French photographer Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey. According to Retronaut, they weren’t discovered until the 1920s, in a store room on Girault’s estate. Retronaut adds:

Girault de Prangey studied painting in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts and in 1841 he learned daguerreotypy, possibly from Louis Daguerre himself or from Hippolyte Bayard. Girault de Prangey was keenly interested in the architecture of the Middle East, and he toured Italy and the countries of the eastern Mediterranean between 1841 and 1844, producing over 900 daguerreotypes of architectural views, landscapes, and portraits.

Since 1844, millions of photographs have probably been taken of Jerusalem. But these blurry snaps are the very first. 

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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