Valley of the Sochi River


Shown here is the lower part of the Sochi River valley. Less than 50 kilometers in length, the Sochi originates in Large (Bolshaya) Shura Mountain on the edge of the Western Caucasus, flows through the town of Sochi, and empties into the Black Sea. Although at the time of this photograph the Sochi area was still a semi-rural environment, its potential as a resort had led to rapid population growth: from slightly over 1,300 inhabitants in the 1897 census, to more than 13,000 in 1916. This was a prelude to the explosive growth that began with Sochi’s designation as an elite Soviet resort in the 1930s. The mountains in the background of this view are one of the reasons for Sochi’s selection as the site of the XXII Winter Olympics in 2014. 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 different parts of the empire. Prokudin-Gorskii made a number of trips to the Caucasus, including one in 1912 during which he photographed extensively along the Black Sea coast.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Долина р. Сочи

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