Mullahs in Mosque. Aziziia. Batumi


In 1905 and again in 1912, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in the Caucasus region. He was particularly interested in the southern region of Ach’ara (in present-day Georgia) and its Black Sea port city of Batumi near the Turkish border. Much of the southern Caucasus was absorbed into the Ottoman Empire in the early 16th century, and some local groups, including the Adjars, converted to Islam. In the 19th century the Russian Empire expanded into this semitropical area. Conquered by the Ottomans in 1547, Batumi was taken by Russian and Georgian forces during the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78) and entered the Russian Empire following the Treaty of San Stefano. The Adjar population retained traditional customs, as indicated by this view of a mullah with a group of students at the porch of a structure identified as the Aziziya mosque. Wearing turbans, the youths are looking intently into the camera for the required long exposure for the photograph. 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

Муллы в мечети Азизия. Батум

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