City of Cherdyn


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. His visit to the northern Urals in the summer of 1912 included a trip to the regional center of Cherdyn, located 310 kilometers north of the city of Perm. Settled as early as the 9th century, Cherdyn became an important eastern outpost of Muscovy in the latter half of the 15th century. This view to the northeast, taken from the town water tower, shows a tidy street lined with brick and wooden houses, most of which have four-sloped roofs. Attached to the houses are enclosed yards with large sheds, some of which serve as stables. The well-maintained structures reflect the prosperity of this merchant town, which was situated on the Kolva River (seen here in background). Visible beyond the houses stands an array of 18th and 19th-century churches including (from the right): the Resurrection Cathedral, Church of the Transfiguration, Church of the Dormition, Church of the Epiphany, and, in the far distance, the monastery Church of Saint John the Divine. 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

Г. Чердынь

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