General View of Dabskii Monastery
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 the dramatic landscape and ancient monuments of the mountainous interior of the Caucasus region. He also photographed Borjomi (formerly known as Borzhom), located in the Borjomi Gorge in present-day south-central Georgia. Long occupied by the Ottoman Empire, Borjomi came under Russian control in the 1820s and developed into a resort known for its waters. In 1871, the town was granted to Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich (1832–1909), Governor General of Caucasia between 1862 and 1882. Nikolaevich played a major role in transforming Borjomi into a destination for the elite of Russia. This photograph shows the stone facade and main portal of the ancient Church of Saint George (1333) near the village of Daba. Daba is located on the Chernaia (Black) River, a small right tributary that merges with the Kura River at Borjomi. (“Daba” is, rather prosaically, the Georgian word for “settlement”.) The church was hewn from rocky cliffs, part of which are visible in this image. The area is overgrown with dense foliage, and the facade decoration of the church shows intricate circular geometric patterns typical of Islamic decorative art, as well as strapwork and meander patterns seen in Caucasian church architecture. 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.
Title in Original Language
Общий вид Дабскаго монастыря
Type of Item
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 http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.
Last updated: October 7, 2016