Mosque in Vladikavkaz


Incorrectly identified as the mosque in Vladikavkaz, this photograph shows the Social Assembly Building in Baku, Azerbaijan, taken by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) during his extensive travels in the Caucasus region in 1912. Situated on the western shore of the Caspian Sea at a crossing of major trade routes, Baku was referred to in written sources as early as the fifth century. At the beginning of the 19th century, the area was absorbed into the Russian Empire. Exploitation of rich petroleum sources began in the middle of the century, and by the turn of the 20th century, Baku had become a city flush with oil wealth. This lavish structure was built in 1910-12 to a design by Gabriel Ter-Mikelov (1874–1949), who traveled to Monte Carlo to study examples of grand public architecture. The result is a mixture of Italian Renaissance on the exterior, with Rococo decoration on the interior. In 1936 the building became the home of the Azerbaijan State Philharmonia. 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

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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