View of Zlatoust from the Aleksandrovskii Knoll


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. This sweeping view looking west toward the town of Zlatoust was taken from Alexander Mountain (Aleksandrovskaia sopka), located in the northwest part of present-day Chelyabinsk Oblast. Formerly called Ural Mountain, it was renamed to honor Grand Duke Alexander Nikolaevich (the future Tsar Alexander II), who climbed the peak in June 1837. Straddling the boundary between Europe and Asia, Alexander Mountain is 843 meters high and is composed of ancient metamorphic rock, including quartzite. Prokudin-Gorskii took several photographs featuring the mountain from its base before ascending the peak to take panoramic views. The panorama in this image includes the Ai River (on the left), which forms the pond in front of the town seen on the right. Rising from the town are the white forms of two churches: the Trinity Cathedral (1835–42) at the pond, and the Church of Saint Nicholas (completed in 1886). On the far right is Mount Kosotur. A haystack is visible in a meadow down the hillside. 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

Вид на Златоуст с Александровской сопки

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