HUFFINGTON POST
01/26/2016 11:49 am ET

Photographer Brings Beijing's Lost History Back To Life

Who knew that looking at beautiful photographs could double up as a history lesson?
Beijing-based photographer Simon Song superimposed images of China's ancient monuments onto images of modern-day Beijing to s
Simon Song/South China Morning Post
Beijing-based photographer Simon Song superimposed images of China's ancient monuments onto images of modern-day Beijing to show where the structures would have been had they not been demolished.The Fuchengmen Gate Tower, which was destroyed in 1965, is superimposed on an image of Fuchengmen area, now home to many restaurants and shops.

Fascinated by Beijing's history, photographer Simon Song set out on a mission last year to teach his fellow citizens a history lesson.. albeit an aesthetically pleasing one. 

Beijing's old city gates, which have existed since the 15th century, used to guard the city against invaders coming from around the country. But after the fall of the Qing dynasty and the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1911, officials stopped maintaining the defense mechanisms. Gradually, authorities demolished the walls one by one, and many of them have now been replaced with new roads, buildings and subway stations, the outlet added.

Song, who works for the South China Morning Post, superimposed images of Beijing's old city gates onto those of the modern-day skyline to show where the monuments would have been had they not been demolished. He took the photos over three days last December and used the iPhone app Hipstamatic to create the final products.

"I want to show the beauty of the old Chinese architectures, and show readers that if these old city gates were still there, Beijing would look more beautiful," the photographer said. 

Take a look at the images below.

  • An image of Xuanwumen Gate Tower, which was demolished in 1965, is superimposed on one of Xuanwumen area, now home to ma
    Simon Song/South China Morning Post
    An image of Xuanwumen Gate Tower, which was demolished in 1965, is superimposed on one of Xuanwumen area, now home to many office buildings.
  • An image of the original Deshengmen Gate Tower, which was demolished in 1921, is superimposed on an image of an existing
    Simon Song/South China Morning Post
    An image of the original Deshengmen Gate Tower, which was demolished in 1921, is superimposed on an image of an existing embrasure of the watch tower. The remains of the Deshengmen watch tower, along with those of the Zhengyangmen watch tower, are the only two embrasured watchtowers that still exist in the country.
  • The Zhengyangmen gate tower is superimposed on an image of the embrasured Zhengyangmen gate tower, located at the southern&nb
    Simon Song/South China Morning Post
    The Zhengyangmen gate tower is superimposed on an image of the embrasured Zhengyangmen gate tower, located at the southern end of Tiananmen Square.
  • Dongzhimen Gate Tower, which was demolished in 1965, is superimposed on a photo of Dongzhimen area, now a popular shopping di
    Simon Song/South China Morning Post
    Dongzhimen Gate Tower, which was demolished in 1965, is superimposed on a photo of Dongzhimen area, now a popular shopping district.
  • An image of the Chaoyangmen Gate Tower, demolished in 1953, is projected above one of Chaoyangmen district, where m
    Simon Song/South China Morning Post
    An image of the Chaoyangmen Gate Tower, demolished in 1953, is projected above one of Chaoyangmen district, where many office towers and major roads can be found.
  • The Andingmen Gate Tower and embrasured watch tower are superimposed on a photo of a road in Andingmen neighbo
    Simon Song/South China Morning Post
    The Andingmen Gate Tower and embrasured watch tower are superimposed on a photo of a road in Andingmen neighborhood. The structures were demolished in 1969, when Beijing's No. 2 loop line subway was built.
  • Chongwenmen Gate Tower, which was demolished in 1968, is superimposed on an image of Chongwenmen area, which now has many sho
    Simon Song/South China Morning Post
    Chongwenmen Gate Tower, which was demolished in 1968, is superimposed on an image of Chongwenmen area, which now has many shops, restaurants and apartment blocks.
  • The image of the demolished Xizhimen Gate Tower, which was destroyed in 1969, is superimposed on one of Xizhimen area, a
    Simon Song/South China Morning Post
    The image of the demolished Xizhimen Gate Tower, which was destroyed in 1969, is superimposed on one of Xizhimen area, a popular transportation hub.
CONVERSATIONS