Aleksandr Nevskii Chapel on the Hill in the Solovetskii Monastery. Solovetski Islands


This photograph was taken near the historic area of the Solovetskii-Transfiguration Monastery, located on the Solovetskii Archipelago in the southwestern part of the White Sea. The caption erroneously identifies the church on the distant hill as Saint Alexander Nevskii Chapel. It is in fact the Church of the Ascension on Sekirnaia Hill, one of the most renowned skete (monastic retreats) on the islands. The church was built in 1860–62 with a single cupola. Because of the church’s elevated position, the cupola was surmounted with a powerful lantern that served as a beacon for the surrounding sea. The hill is covered by a forest primarily of fir. In the foreground is a grassy plain that could be cut for hay, and on the left is one of the dozens of lakes found in the islands. 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

Александро-Невская часовня на горе в Соловецком мон. [Соловецкие острова]

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