City of Ekaterinburg. Central Part with the Pond


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 the main embankment at the southern end 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. Of special interest here is the Cathedral of Saint Catherine, built in 1758–68 in an early baroque “Petrine” style with a soaring bell tower at the west end. Its destruction in 1930 was a severe blow to the city’s architectural heritage. To the left is the main fire tower for the town. Among the trees on the right is a side view of the mansion of the Director of Mines, completed in the early 1830s. 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

г. Екатеринбург. Центральная часть с прудом

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