Botanicheskaia Ravine. Tiflis
This early 20th-century view shows the Botanical Gorge in the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi (then called Tiflis in Russian). Evidence suggests that a royal garden existed in the early 17th century at a palace fortress on the south flank of the Sololaki Hills, a spur of the Trialeti Range that defines the city’s western edge. Visible on the upper left are remains of the palace grounds. The gorge seen in this view is formed by the Tsavkisis-Tskali River. In the latter part of the 19th century the Botanical Garden underwent a major expansion (to the west into the hills) that was completed by 1904, shortly before this photograph was taken. 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. In 1905 and in 1912 he traveled in the Caucasus, including the territory of Georgia, where he was fascinated by both the geography and the flora of the region.
Title in Original Language
Ботаническое ущелье. Тифлис
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: September 28, 2016