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 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. By the time this photograph was taken, Cherdyn, which was situated on the Kolva River, was a regional trade and administrative center. This view to the north, taken from the town water tower, shows a mixture of wooden houses and utilitarian structures such as barns, sheds, and warehouses that supported the commerce of the town. In the distance on the rise to the far right is the small Church of All Saints (built in 1815–17), located at the town cemetery next to the road leading north to the remote settlement of Nyrob. Behind the stand of trees the road bends to the left, heading to the village of Pokcha. Just visible beyond the tree line is the tall bell tower of the Church of the Annunciation. 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