Pond Embankment in Ekaterinburg


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. This 1909 photograph shows an embankment along the upper west side of City Pond in the town of Ekaterinburg (named Sverdlovsk 1924–91). The pond was created in 1724 when the engineer Georg Wilhelm de Gennin (Hennin) dammed the Iset River to create a power source for an iron factory established by order of Peter the Great in 1723. The settlement that sprung up around the pond was named after Peter’s second wife, Catherine. Seen here near the embankment are masonry houses, which generally belonged to prosperous merchants. Boats cluster near long piers. Prosaic modernity is evident in the tall poles for electricity and telephone wires. In the distance is the Church of Saint Alexander Nevsky, completed in 1895 and demolished around 1930. In the 19th century, the area around the pond was a magnet for some of the most imposing architecture in the town, but this part of the embankment has been transformed since 1909. 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

Набережная пруда в Екатеринбурге

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 http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.

Last updated: September 28, 2016