Mozhaisk Nikolaevskii Cathedral. A Side View.


In 1911–12, in connection with the centenary of the 1812 Napoleonic campaign against Russia, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) photographed sites along the invasion route. Among them was the ancient town of Mozhaisk, first mentioned in medieval chronicles in 1231. This dramatic photograph from the south shows the remnants of the earthen ramparts of the town fortress, within which was a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas. A “New” Cathedral of Saint Nicholas arose in 1680–84 on the foundations of the Saint Nicholas Gate, the main entrance to the fortress. A prolonged reconstruction of the church culminated in 1802-14 with an exuberant pseudo-Gothic structure and bell tower designed by Aleksei N. Bakarev.  With superb clarity this view shows the decorative limestone detailing on the painted red brick walls. Visible through the trees to the right is the cupola of the “Old” Cathedral of Saint Nicholas. 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

Можайский Николаевский собор. Вид сбоку.

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