SUBSCRIBE TO CHINA
Written by Graf zu Castell (Germany), translated by Zhao Shengwei, published by Taihai Publishing House, February 2017
Most of the nearly 200 photographs in the book were taken 1,200 to 2,500 meters above sea level by German pilot Graf zu Castell during his missions in China from 1933 to 1936.
During his flights across the country, Zu Castell took pictures of as many cities, villages, rivers, and mountains as he could. These photos were extremely precious in an era when aerial photography was rare. “From the air, I could provide a brand-new angle to showcase China to Westerners who knew much about the country,” he explained. “And for those who knew little about China, these photos may inspire them to learn more about the country.”
The appendix to the book features 12 photos taken by a French military officer from a hot air balloon during the early 1920s, the oldest aerial pictures of China.
Graf zu Castell was a pilot for Lufthansa, Germany’s national airline. Born in 1905 in Berlin, he was appointed to design new flight routes in China between 1933 and 1936. After returning home, Zu Castell joined the team planning a route between Berlin and Kabul, the longest of the time. After retirement, he was awarded the Federal German Grand Cross by the government.