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From mountains to bridges The breathtaking photos that showed Switzerland to the world

Dizzying bridges, amazing mountain panoramas and the almost deserted streets of Zurich: The photographs of Jean Adolphe Braun were extremely popular in the second half of the 19th century. Why? The smartphone was not yet invented.

Anyone who could afford to travel extensively, did so from the 1850s onwards. Switzerland was a popular destination for the affluent European middle classes. Few families could afford a camera of their own, so many bought photographs locally to take home as a keepsake of their travels.

One man who built a successful company out of this trade was a Frenchman, Jean Adolphe Braun. The textile designer and photographer specialised in shots of cities and alpine landscapes. His company Braun & Cie had a large influence on how Europe viewed Switzerland as a tourist destination during the period. 

The Swiss National Museum in Zurich is showing the most impressive historical pictures by Braun & Cie from between 1870 and 1900. The exhibition 'Vues de Suisseexternal link' opened on July 6 and runs until August 6, 2017.