Wooden Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. The Village of Pidma. Russian Empire


The Mariinsky Canal System (now the Volga-Baltic Waterway) links Saint Petersburg with the Volga River basin. A major part of the system is the Svir River, which flows 224 kilometers from Lake Onega west to Lake Ladoga. The village of Pidma (in present-day Leningrad Oblast) is located where the small Pidma River, 13 kilometers in length, flows into the Svir. Shown in this 1909 photograph is the Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior, built in 1696. This remarkable octagonal building, which unfortunately no longer exists, was constructed of horizontal log courses and culminated in a conical “tent” tower of vertical planks on a log framework. In the 19th century the main structure was clad in plank siding. On the right (east side) is the apse, containing the altar. On the left is a small vestibule with a shake roof. A grove of fir trees stands in the background. 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

Деревянная церковь во имя Преображения Господня. с. Пидьма. [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 http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.

Last updated: September 23, 2016