Araucaria. In Tsar's Park, Dagomys


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. This photograph, taken in the park at the Dagomys royal estate, shows a transplanted columnar Araucaria tree, a living fossil that originated in the early Mesozoic era. Seated on the grass is a woman who is elegantly dressed in white and holds a white parasol, with a red scarf on her knees. Her identity is not known, but she is likely a member of the imperial court. Beginning in the 1870s, the court purchased extensive land for an estate in the valley of the Dagomys (a Cherkess word meaning “cool, shady place”). Only a few kilometers in length, the Dagomys River flows from the mountains into the sea north of Sochi. In this view, numerous pine trees form a backdrop in the semitropical park. The mountainous terrain is visible in the distant haze. 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

Aurocaria [i. е. Araucaria]. В царском парке Дагомыс

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