Sochi River


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 in the area of Sochi. The region was ceded to Russia by the Turks in 1829, but struggles continued until 1864, by which time the local Circassians had been expelled with great loss of life. This view looking toward the east shows the Sochi River near its mouth; next to the river are construction materials for an embankment. Less than 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. When Prokudin-Gorskii took this photograph, the Sochi area was still a semi-rural environment, but its development into a resort known as “the Caucasian Riviera” had led to rapid population growth: from slightly more than 1,300 inhabitants in the 1897 census to more than 13,000 in 1916. This photograph features excellent cloud detail, seen here in the sky over the mountains. 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

Река 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