Bridge across the Katav River, near the Plant


In 1909 and 1910, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled extensively in the territory around the Ural Mountains, where he photographed railroad installations, factories, urban settings, and natural landscapes. In the summer of 1910 he traveled along the Samara-Zlatoust Railroad (built in 1885–90; now the Ufa-Chelyabinsk line), subsequently a link in the Trans-Siberian Railway through the southern Urals. In 1905 a spur track was laid from Viazovaia Station to the factory town of Katav-Ivanovsk, located 37 kilometers southwest (in present-day Chelyabinsk Oblast). The Katav-Ivanovsk ironworks was founded in 1755 and soon became one of the most productive blast furnaces in Europe. Seen here is a truss railroad bridge crossing over the Katav River near the factory. At 111 kilometers long, the Katav is a left tributary of the Iurezan’ River (now spelled Iuriuzan), which empties into the Ufa River and is part of the Kama-Volga River basin. The iron bridge rests on stone piers, with approaches bolstered by stone retaining walls. In the background, wooden houses line the ridge of a denuded hill. The forests surrounding such settlements were often felled to provide the large quantities of wood needed for the operations of the ironworks. 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

Мост через р. Катаву у завода

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