Village of Volkhova and a Draw Bridge. Russian Empire


The Mariinsky Waterway System links Saint Petersburg with the Volga River basin. The caption for this 1909 photograph, as for a number of others in the series “Views along the Mariinskii Canal and River System, Russian Empire,” is perplexing. The photograph bears no relation to any village named Volkhova. Current research suggests the settlement depicted is Volokov Bridge, then located on the south bank of the Mariinsky Canal extension of the Vytegra River (present-day Vologda Oblast). The Vytegra flows into Lake Onega toward Saint Petersburg, but its upper part was rechanneled as a canal linked to the south-flowing Kovzha River. The drawbridge was rebuilt in 1905. Visible on the left is the tow path as well as ground traces of the previous bridge. To the right is a wooden chapel, seen from the northwest. Just beyond the bridge’s right side is a horse and cows coming home in the setting sun. On the left, villagers (mostly women in kerchiefs) are returning from work in fields on the north bank. 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. In 1909 he traveled along the Mariinsky Waterway System.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Деревня Волхова и подъемный мост. [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