Tow Rope Bridge in the Village of Lava. Russian Empire


The Mariinskii Canal system links Saint Petersburg with the Volga River basin. Among the system’s components is the Old Ladoga Canal, where this view was taken near the fortress town of Shlisselburg. Visible on the far side of the canal is a granite outflow regulator built at the end of the 18th century. The structure serves as a bridge for the canal towpath. Behind the far bridge railing, with granite posts, is a wooden house known as the Prokhorov dacha, which originally belonged to Vasilii A. Prokhorov (1818–82), a prominent Saint Petersburg archeologist. The embankment is lined with a row of trees that protected the canal. On the left is a small steam launch with uniformed crew, probably part of the canal’s inspection service. The canal is no longer used for its original purpose, and the area in this 1909 photograph has become substantially overgrown. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many parts of the empire.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Бичевой мост в селе Лава. [Российская империя]

Type of Item

Physical Description

Glass negative (presented as a digital color composite)


  • Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographic work survives primarily in two forms: 1,901 black-and-white triple-frame glass plate negatives, made with color separation filters, which Prokudin-Gorskii used to make color prints and lantern slides; and 12 albums of sepia-tone prints, made from the glass negatives, which Prokudin-Gorskii compiled as a record of his travels and studies. The Library of Congress purchased the glass plate negatives and the albums from the Prokudin-Gorskii family in 1948. In 2004, the Library of Congress had digital color composites made from all the surviving glass negatives using a software algorithm to automatically align the color components. As with most historical photographs, title and subject identifications are corrected and enhanced through new research. Current information on the collection is at

Last updated: September 23, 2016