General View of a Railroad near the Village of Perguba


The Murmansk Railroad was built by the Russian government during World War I to connect Petrograd (Saint Petersburg) to the ice-free port of Romanov-on-Murman (now Murmansk). Construction lasted from 1914 to the spring of 1917 when the line was completed. Seen here is the track as it approaches the village of Kappeselga (in Karelia) from the south. This photograph shows the extensive earthworks required in laying a rail line over marshy, uneven terrain. On the right is a service building (perhaps a store) constructed of pine logs. Extending from the building in the foreground is a privy with a ventilation pipe. Protruding boulders dot the yard, which is littered with construction debris. Across the track to the left is a plowed field enclosed by a traditional fence of slanted poles. A marsh with stunted growth leads to a forest in the background. The photographer often misidentifies a number of localities in the Kondopoga region as Kannesemga (Kappeselga), but in this case he does the opposite—identifying Kappeselga as the village of Perguba. 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 different parts of the empire. Support for his work was renewed during the First World War, and in 1916 he was commissioned to photograph scenes along the new railroad.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Общий вид ж. д. пути у дер. Пергуба

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