Detail of the Church of the Assumption of the Mother of God. Belozersk, Russian Empire


The Mariinsky Canal System (now known as the Volga-Baltic Waterway) links Saint Petersburg with the Volga River basin. Among the major components of the waterway is White Lake (Beloe ozero), in the Vologda territory. Belozersk is located on the south shore of White Lake and is the main point on the White Lake Canal. Seen in this 1909 photograph is the west facade of the town’s oldest surviving monument, the Church of the Dormition, built in 1553–70 by command of Ivan the Terrible on the site of the former Dormition Convent. The Church of the Dormition is crowned by the traditional five cupolas, but its exterior decoration is sparse. The northwest corner, visible here, was constructed with reinforced masonry and might have served as an observation point, particularly in view of the church’s location at the highest elevation in town. 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

Деталь церкви Успения Божией Матери. [Белозерск, 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