Bananas. In Sukhumi Botanical Garden


These banana plants were photographed at the Botanical Garden of Sukhumi, the major city of Abkhazia along the Black Sea coast. This area of the western Caucasus, with its semitropical climate, was home to exotic floral varieties unknown elsewhere in the Russian Empire. Much of the Transcaucasian region was taken by the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. The Turks were expelled from Sukhumi in 1810, and the area was annexed to the territory of Georgia by the Russian Empire in 1864. Soon thereafter, Sukhumi and its seaport became known as a resort destination. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s 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 parts of the empire. Prokudin-Gorskii often photographed plants to demonstrate the ability of his photographic process to capture a range of colors.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Бананы. В Ботаническом саду в Сухуме

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