Railroad Bridge across the Belaia River near Ufa


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 the summer of 1910 was Ufa (now the capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan). Ufa extends along a crescent bend on the high right bank of the Belaia River near the mouth of the tributary Ufa River. The Bashkir roots of the site are ancient. The Russian presence here dates from 1573, when a large part of Bashkir territory was taken into the Muscovite state. Major development in Ufa occurred with the construction of the Samara-Zlatoust Railway in 1885–90. This view shows the long spans of the railroad bridge over the Belaia. The bridge was built in 1888 to a design by the engineer Nikolai A. Beleliubskii (1845–1922), author of numerous bridge projects in the Russian Empire. In the middle distance are wooden houses in a part of southern Ufa known as Seminary Quarter. 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

Железнодорожный мост через р. Белую близ Уфы

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