Western Part of the Town of Zlatoust


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, urban settings, and natural scenes. Among the towns Prokudin-Gorskii visited in September 1909 was Zlatoust, located in the Ai River valley to the west of Chelyabinsk. Named in honor of Saint John Chrysostom (“golden-tongued,” or zlatoust), the town was founded in 1754 and became a center of finished metal production, including armaments. The completion of a railroad from Samara led to further development, and by 1913 the town had 20,000 inhabitants. This view of the western part of town shows the hilly terrain, with a large cemetery in a birch grove at the top. In the foreground is a log warehouse surrounded by wooden shops, houses, and sheds. In the middle distance are brick buildings along Large German (now Lenin) Street, and the pseudogothic structure of the Catholic Church (built in the 1860s, demolished in 1928). Beyond is Little German (now October) Street, at the left end of which is a distillery. 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

Западная часть г. Златоустa

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