Church in Vetluga Settlement


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 the metalworking center of Zlatoust, located in the Ai River valley to the west of Chelyabinsk. Seen here from the northwest is the Church of John the Baptist in Vetluga village, near Zlatoust. Begun in 1880 and consecrated in 1894, the church is a fine example of the Ostankino style, an imitation of late 17th-century ornamentalism that was widespread in Orthodox architecture at the end of the 19th century. This beautiful church, located on the upper eastern slope of Kosotur Hill, was destroyed around 1930. A log house juts from the left of the photograph, but the main part of the village is partially visible beyond the trees and down the hill on the right. Vetluga was settled at the end of the 18th century by peasants from the Vetluga district of Kostroma province. 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

Церковь в селении Ветлуга

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