Beshenaia Gully. Borzhom


This view, taken in the Borjomi area of Georgia, shows a gorge filled with pines and other conifers, ending in sheer jagged rock cliffs. At the top of the peaks is a line of coniferous forest. The caption identifies the gorge as Beshenaia balka (gully), but the only location of that name is in a different region of Georgia, on the Georgian Military Road. 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. He traveled to the Caucasus in 1905. In 1912 he returned to the region for extensive travel in Georgia. In the mountainous regions of the interior he photographed a number of Georgian Orthodox Christian shrines as well as the dramatic landscape. Certain identifications in the Prokudin-Gorskii albums are imprecise or misleading, a reflection of the great range of his work and complexities encountered in matching images with field records, especially with the lapse of time.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Бешеная балка. [Боржом]

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