General View of the Saatli Settlement (Old Tatar). Mugan Steppe


In 1904, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled to Dagestan, and in 1905 he traveled and photographed extensively in the Caucasus region. Among the areas he visited was the Mughan Plain, located in the southeastern Caucasian region near the lower reaches of the Kura River (the largest river in the Transcaucasus). This image shows a general view of the village of Saatli, located on the right bank of the Aras River (the primary tributary of the Kura), some 180 kilometers from Baku. Nearby is the town of Petropavlovka (now Sabirabad in Azerbaijan), situated near the confluence of the Aras and the Kura. This semiarid area was intended by the Russian government as land for resettlement, primarily by Ukrainian peasants. The area had harsh conditions, including high temperatures in summer and the continual threat of flooding from the Aras. The effects of the summer heat are visible in this photograph in the parched, treeless ground. The houses in this view appear to be made of wattle and mud, and the structures have thatched roofs typical of buildings in Ukraine. 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

Общий вид поселка Саатлы (старый татарский). Мугань [степь]

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: October 7, 2016