Near the Small Town of Iustili, on the Saimaa Canal


This idyllic autumn view was taken in 1903 on the Saimaa Canal near the village of Juustila, situated to the northwest of Saint Petersburg in what was then the Grand Duchy of Finland. Opened for transportation in 1856 and renovated in the 20th century, the Saimaa Canal is 57 kilometers in length and connects Lake Saimaa (Finland) with the Gulf of Finland near the city of Vyborg (present-day Leningrad Oblast). The canal now operates by joint agreement between Russia and Finland. Juustila was the site of villas for Vyborg’s elite, and the Saimaa region was also renowned in Saint Petersburg for the beauty of its landscape. Juustila is also known by the name “Brusnichnoe,” derived from the Russian word for lingonberry. This scene—with fir trees and yellow birches—shows modest cottages, boat sheds, and a small wooden pier jutting into the water. 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. Although Prokudin-Gorskii is best known for his photographs of people and historic buildings, he also documented landscapes and geographical features.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Близ местечка Юстиля на Саименском [i.е. Сайменском] канале


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