There's a common thread among some of the world's most booming cities; from bright lights, technological progress, large populations and access to arts and culture right at your fingertips. It's no secret that the last century has seen rapid changes and advancements, so what did some of the world's largest cities look like in the early 20th century? For some, it's hard to put 100 years into perspective, it was several generations ago after all. At the turn of the 20th century, many of the world's largest cities looked nothing like the cities we know today - but some elements were always present. Here, we look at what some of the world's largest cities looked like 100 years ago!
As Britain's dominant city, London was the centre of the world's largest empire at the beginning of the 20th century with 1/3 of all of Britain's trade going through its docks. Much of the historic buildings that are there today were already present, but it's cobblestone or unpaved roads were something that has changed over time. This era was also a time of lots of change, with political unrest, voting protests, and the beginnings of immigration from all over the world set to change the history of the city forever.
New York City
At the turn of the 20 century, much of New York's legendary traffic was still alive and well. Cars, bikes, streetcars and horses all shared the roads in this burgeoning city. The city was already multicultural early on, something that would continue to develop as the decades progressed. Central Park was already a favourite as a hangout spot, Wall Street was already one of the world's largest financial centers, and Broadway was already in full swing as one of the best places in the world for theatre. What has definitely changed is the height of the city; with the first of its many skyscrapers, the 55-storey Woolworth buildings, going up in 1913. Since then, a huge subway system and the bright lights and billboards of Times Square are some of the most defining images of New York City.
Always rich in culture and art, Paris' place along the Seine river made it ripe for scenic views from hotels, apartments and cafes. In the early 1900s, artists flocked to Paris to work and be inspired by the sights and sounds of a city that's always been surrounded in history and mystique. Some of the best visionaries from the worlds of literature, film, music and visual art created some of their best work while living in the city. With the Eiffel Tower already firmly planted in the city's centre by the end of the 19th century, the 20th century saw the the city come together around the structure that would become an iconic symbol for the entire country.
Tokyo is a city that is known to look like it's from the future, but digging into its past reveals beginning as humble as any other metropolis in the beginning of the 20th century. Formerly known as Edo, the city was designed to focus on railway stations and to accommodate a high density population; proving they've always been ahead of the curve in terms of seeing itself as a modern metropolis. While the bright lights and skyscrapers weren't around just yet, the basic infrastructure of the city was there very early on; making it much easier to progress quickly and rebuild after major setbacks like earthquakes or wars.
While time-travel is impossible (for now!), these cities are still great places to visit - but it's important to be well packed and prepared in luggage like our Rise Gear bags. Happy Travels!