Athens, the capital of the Greek State since 1834, was a small city at the time when the first photograph had been taken of the city by Girault de Prangey in 1842.

It had been almost entirely destroyed in the course of the Greek War of Independence (1821-1829) when both the city and the Acropolis suffered multiple sieges. The city underwent serious damages which lasted eleven months from June 1826 through to May 1827.

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Prior to that, Thomas Bruce (also known as Lord Elgin) had removed 12 pediment statues, 156 frieze plaques, 13 metopes as well as a frieze of the Temple of Athena and one Caryatid of the Erechtheion from 1801 to 1815 when he was the British ambassador to Istanbul.

De Prangey’s daguerrotypes are the oldest existing photographs of Greece, Palestine, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. His work was discovered in the 1920s in a storage building of his estate and was made public 80 years later.

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The view of the Acropolis and the Anafiotika neighbourhood, 1842, by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey (1804-1892).