Flowering Apricot (Dried Apricots). Samarkand


Russian forces captured Samarkand (present-day Uzbekistan) in 1868. In 1886 Samarkand became the capital of an oblast within Turkestan (present-day Uzbekistan and neighboring states), and two years later the Trans-Caspian Railway reached the city. After consolidating its hold on the area, the Russian administration began construction of a new district to the west of the ancient city. The property in this photograph probably was part of the Russian settlement, as suggested by the iron roof and the appearance of the walls enclosing the courtyard. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s 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 parts of the empire. Prokudin-Gorskii was particularly interested in recently acquired territories of the Russian Empire such as Turkestan, which he visited on a number of occasions, including two trips in 1911. There he photographed not only architectural monuments but also everyday scenes, such as this view of flowering apricot trees.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Абрикос (урюк) в цвету. Самарканд

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: September 30, 2016