Staro-Sibirskaia Gate in the City of Perm


From 1909 to 1912, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) made several trips to the territory around the Ural Mountains, where he photographed railroad installations, factories, and urban scenes. Shown in this 1909 photograph are the obelisks that marked the old Siberian entrance (zastava) to the city of Perm. Major entry points to Russian towns such as this were originally guarded checkpoints; they later acquired a ceremonial function. Erected in 1824, these obelisks commemorated a visit to Perm by Tsar Alexander I in 1824, and are crowned by the double-headed imperial eagle. They were designed by Ivan Sviiazev (1797–1875), who served as an official architect of Perm Province in the 1820s. The origins of what became Perm can be dated to 1723 and are linked to the development of the mineral resources of the Urals under Tsar Peter the Great. The completion, in 1876, of a railroad to the city was an important stimulus to the growth of Perm. By the time of Prokudin-Gorskii visited, the city had more than 100,000 inhabitants. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of his 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.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Старо-Сибирская застава в г. Перми

Additional Subjects

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 28, 2016