The First Photos of Moscow


It is commonly believed that the first photo was made by a Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. As for the first daguerreotypic photos of Moscow – they are dated July 5th, 1839. It’s when citezens found out about the amazing machine, dagguereotype, that created incredibly precise images without any drawing or painting.

The first photos were shown to public on October 23rd in the shop of K. A. Beckers, he both sold the new magic devices and made photos of the city to order.

The first known to public photos of the Russian capital are dated 1842. Exposure took 30 minutes then, photos were colored, added figures of people to. So they sooner resembled painted pictures.

The unique photographs you are about to see are the oldest dagguereotypic images of Moscow.


The oldest of the known photos of Moscow. 1842. On the images is the beginning of the Big Kremlin Palace construction.


1842. Later, in 1854, a belfry of Church of St. Nicholas will be there, in the background.


Colored daguerreotypic photo made in 1842. The first known photo of the Church of the Intercession on Moat. The signature says “Daguerreotype Lerebours”, 1842.


1852. The Big Stone Bridge of the seventeenth century. It was demolished in 1858.


One of the first panoramas of Moscow.




Prereform Moscow 1855.


External walls of the Kremlin, 1852.

Kremlin, 1852.


Construction of the Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow. 1852.




The Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow with no scaffolding in 1860.  




The same church in 1867.


Ilyinka. 1864.


Red Square in 1872.


Museum of History being constructed. 1875.


Preobrazhenski monastery, 1879.


View of the Kremlin, 1883.


Viewing Taganka from the Moskva river.

via varlamov


12 thoughts on “The First Photos of Moscow”

  1. Interesting fact is that the Kremlin was white-washed then, and re-painted every several years. Can see it on the very first photo, that it was not red.
    Stalin decided to make it red, to match the color of blood of his victims.

  2. Before the Revoluion, entrance into the Kremlin was free for everybody. My grandmother visited it, and even was allowed to climb on top of the Ivan the Great bell-tower. So in Tsarists times, Kremlin belonged to the people, and had nothing to do with the government.
    Then communists closed it for people since they needed a fortress to be protected from people. Only after Stalin’s death they allowed people to enter Kremlin again. But even now, only small portion of Kremlin is accessible, the rest belongs to the President who uses it as his private property.

    • The Kremlin and the biggest palaces were the personal property of the monarch. Other buildings were the property of the nobility. The rest of the people were mostly a bunch of illiterate peasants (for centuries).

      Actually, the whole country was the Tsar’s personal “property”, and it was inherited as such to his kids.
      Ah, those were the days…

      • This is pure nonsense. The Tsar had nothing to do with the Kremlin. Even communists in 1970s did not claim such kind of nonsense. In similar manner I can say that the whole Washington DC is a private property of the US President, the whole London is a private property of the Queen, the whole Beijing is a private property of the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist party, and so on. You are a liar, sir.

        • –…” The Tsar had nothing to do with the Kremlin…”. No? That would be news to to all the Tsars and their descendants. And it looks you’re debunking your own “point” here.

          –…”I can say that the whole Washington DC is a private property of the US President…”. No. You can’t. The U.S.A. elects their President every 4 years. All his Official perks belong to the State. The Tsar, in contrast, was an Absolut Monarch, elected by nobody, and everything was inherited to his family. HE (and his kids) were the State. You don’t know what an Absolut Monarchy is? Hahah!

          Ah, those were the days…

          PS: I don’t think you’re a Liar. Just too ignorant and prone to (unsupported) fantasies. But I can be wrong about this, though…

          • You are not only ignorant, your ignorance is beyond repair. The Russian Emperor’s property was very well defined, as was everybody else’s in the Empire, same as the property of the English Queen. What you are saying is same as claiming that in UK everything belongs to the Queen.

            Your ignorance comes from the fact that you don’t know the difference between absolute and constitutional monarchy. It seems to me that you think that all monarchs are absolute.
            Neither today’s English Queen nor Russian Emperors were absolute monarchs, they are both constitutional monarchs, and their rights and duties were defined by law. The Russian Emperor could only do what was allowed to do for him by laws. And every peasant’s private property was not less valuable than the Emperor’s.
            But you apparently get your idea of monarchy from the Star Wars movies, so it’s OK.

            As for Kremlin, it did not belonged to Emperors. And I tell you again, there was free access to the whole Kremlin territory, though not inside all the buildings. Today, you can access to only one third of its territory, again not counting the buildings.

            And elected or unelected, has nothing to do with private property, here your Star Wars education again let you down. Even elected leader can have the whole country as his private property, and on the opposite, unelected monarch may not have any private property at all.
            Go read some books like Tom Sawyer or maybe in your case you should start with Nursery Rhymes.

            • …”you don’t know the difference between absolute and constitutional monarchy. It seems to me that you…”. –hahah! Really?

              —“The Russian Empire functioned as an absolute monarchy until the Revolution of 1905 and then became a de jure constitutional monarchy. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917, largely as a result of massive failures… Following the Revolution of 1905, the Tsar made last attempts to save his absolut regime, and offered reforms similar to most rulers when pressured by a revolutionary movement…”.
              –Russian Empire,

              Looks like only 12 years of pesudo “constitutional” disorder (in a centuries old absolut monarchy) didn’t help to stop the ancestral abuse against the terribly impoverished and ignorant population.

              …”Go read some books like Tom Sawyer or maybe in your…”. –LOLZ. Perhaps that’s why you are so fond of so many deluded fantasies. Confirmed.



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