Pinus Excelsa. Chamaerops Excelsus (Windmill Palm) in Sukhumi Botanical Garden


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 photograph the Caucasus region, including in the territory of Georgia and along the coast of the Black Sea. Among the locations he visited was Sukhumi, the major city of Abkhazia, located in the northern part of Georgia. Much of the Transcaucasian area was dominated by the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. The Turks were expelled from Sukhumi in 1810, and the area was annexed by the Russian Empire in 1864. Sukhumi and its seaport soon thereafter became known as a resort destination. This area of the Caucasus, with its semitropical climate along the Black Sea, was home to a variety of exotic flora unknown elsewhere in Russia. This photograph, taken in the Sukhumi Botanical Garden, shows a blue pine, referred to in the caption as Pinus excelsa, but more accurately known as Pinus wallichiana. Native to mountainous regions of southern Asia, this pine has long drooping bundles of needles. To the left is a windmill palm (Chamaerops excelsa, more accurately known as Trachycarpus fortunei). 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

Pinus Excelsa. Hamerops excelsus в Ботаническом саду в Сухуме

Additional Subjects

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