In 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. By 1913, the population of the town was 19,000. This photograph shows the partially-cobbled Large Pharmacy Street, fronted by wooden houses and brick houses that might also contain offices and stores. The street is lined with sidewalks made of wood and flat stone. Drainage ditches on each side of the street are spanned by footbridges at each house. Beyond the pine-covered Butylovka Hill on the right are the domes of Trinity Cathedral, with nearby factory smokestacks just visible. In the background are Kosotur Hill and the town pond formed by the Ai River, and beyond, the Taganai Range. 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

В г. Златоусте

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