Mosque in the Bashkir Village of Ekhia


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 his special railroad car covered much territory in the southern Urals, where he photographed a Bashkir village that he identifies as “Ekh’ia.” Although a village of this precise name is not recorded, evidence suggests that it is Iakhino (in present-day Bashkortostan), located near the railroad between Sim Station and Ust-Katav. Prokudin-Gorskii was fascinated by the ethnic variety of the region and often photographed Bashkirs in domestic settings. Seen here is the village mosque, built of logs with plank siding. The large windows have white surrounds. From the green metal roof rises an octagonal minaret and a tall spire with tin sheathing. At the top is the crescent moon, the symbol of Islam. In the center distance a log house is under construction. To the right is a large haystack. A wooden picket fence encloses the entire territory, which probably served as the household of the local spiritual leader. 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

Мечеть в башкирской деревне Ехья

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