View of the Batum Coast


In 1905 Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in the Caucasus region. In the spring of 1912, Prokudin-Gorskii returned to the Caucasus region, including the territory of Georgia. The various kingdoms of the southern Caucasus were dominated by the Ottoman Empire beginning in the first half of the 16th century. In the 19th century the Russian Empire expanded into the area, particularly following the conclusion of the Caucasian War in 1864. Of special interest was the southern region of Ach’ara and its port city, Batumi, located on the Black Sea near the Turkish border. Batumi entered the Russian Empire in 1878 following the Treaty of San Stefano. Long known as a fishing center, Batumi was a prosperous duty-free port and a favored sea resort at the turn of the 20th century. The development of Batumi was accelerated by the completion in 1900 of a railroad and oil pipeline from Baku on the Caspian Sea, where the Nobel brothers (Alfred, Ludvig, and Robert) had extensive oil fields. This panorama looking toward the south shows the coastline of Batumi Bay. In the foreground are houses with cultivated hillside plots. 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.

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Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Вид на Батумское побережье

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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