Mosque in Vladikavkaz


In 1912, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in the Caucasus, with all its variety of cultures, peoples and landscapes. Among the towns he visited was Vladikavkaz, which is today the capital of the Republic of North Ossetia, part of the Russian Federation. The republic is located in the central part of the northern Caucasus region. Founded in 1784 as a frontier fortress on the Terek River, Vladikavkaz was an essential link in Russia’s move toward the Kingdom of Georgia, which later became a Russian protectorate. Unable to defend their line of communication, Russian forces abandoned Vladikavkaz in 1785 but returned in 1803. With the conclusion of the Caucasian War in 1864, Vladikavkaz became a major administrative center. Seen here is the Sunni Mosque, the construction of which was supported by the Azerbaijani oil baron Murtuza Mukhtarov. Built in 1903–08 by the architect Józef Plośko, the design of the great mosque is in the Moorish style, with two minarets flanking the main facade. 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

Мечеть в Владикавказе

Additional Subjects

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: November 1, 2016