Eastern Part of Tiflis on the Slopes of the Botanicheskaia Mountain


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. Although the caption for this photograph gives the location as Tbilisi, this view shows a section of the ancient town of Artvin, located in contemporary Turkey among hills along the Çoruh Nehri River, which flows into the Black Sea south of Bat’umi. The town has yielded archeological evidence predating the Colchis Kingdom in the southern Caucasus. Frequently invaded, the area was conquered by Muslim armies in the middle of the 9th century. The Ottomans, who took control of the area in the early 16th century, surrendered it to the Russian Empire after the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29, but Russian control was contested until the conclusion of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. By the time Prokudin-Gorskii visited, Artvin had more than 7,000 inhabitants, two-thirds of whom were Armenians. With terra cotta tile roofs and high chimneys, the houses seen in this image are skillfully adapted to the steep terrain. 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

Восточная часть Тифлиса на склонах Ботанической горы

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 http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.

Last updated: October 7, 2016