A gorgeous 1890 postcard tour of the Alpine land of Tyrol

These postcards of the Princely County of Tyrol, an Alpine region of the Austro-Hungarian empire, were created using the Photochrom process, an early procedure for imbuing monochrome images with surprisingly lifelike color.

Developed in the 1880s by an employee of a Swiss printing company, the process involves coating a lithographic limestone tablet with a photosensitive emulsion and exposing it to light under a photo negative.

The light causes the emulsion to harden in proportion to the tones of the negative, forming a fixed lithographic image on the stone.

Additional stones are prepared for each tint to be used in the ultimate color image — a single postcard might require over a dozen.

The end product of this painstaking process is color images with a unique degree of verisimilitude for a time when true color photography was just being developed.

These images capture the staggering peaks and valleys of Tyrol in the decades before it was partitioned between Italy and Austria with the end of World War I.

See another stunning view from the Alpines: