Dagestan. Village of Verkhnii Gunib


During the Caucasian War of 1817–64, Russian forces engaged in a costly campaign to subdue Muslim tribes in the area of Dagestan. Imam Shamil (1797–1871) was a charismatic leader who united Chechen and Dagestani tribes in prolonged opposition to the Russian army. Shamil resisted until August 1859, when he surrendered to Prince Alexander Bariatinskii at Gunib. This view of the dramatic landscape was taken by the Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944). Although the caption refers to Verkhnii (upper) Gunib, the settlement of Russian houses with iron roofs has been identified as Nizhnii (lower) Gunib. Tall poplars surround the houses, which included the residence of the regional chief. In the background is the range of Gunib Mountain. 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. In April 1904, he traveled to Dagestan in the Caucasus, where he photographed the area around Mount Gunib.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Дагестан. Верхний Гуниб

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: November 3, 2016