Sochi and Seacoast


In 1905 Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in the Caucasus region. In 1912, Prokudin-Gorskii returned to photograph in the Caucasus region, including extensively along the coast of the Black Sea. This view, taken from the hills to the east, shows the lower part of the Sochi River valley and a number of large white stuccoed masonry buildings. Less that 50 kilometers in length, the Sochi River originates at the Large (Bolshaia) Shura Mountain on the edge of the western Caucasus Mountains, flows through the town of Sochi, and empties into the Black Sea—visible in the background here in the hazy light of a hot day. When Prokudin-Gorskii took this photograph, the Sochi area was still a semi-rural environment, but its potential as a resort in a warm semitropical region had already led to rapid population growth: from slightly more than 1,300 inhabitants in the 1897 census to more than 13,000 in 1916. This was a prelude to the explosive growth that began when Sochi was designated an elite Soviet resort in the 1930s. 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

Сочи и побережье

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