Sentry at the Palace, and Old Cannons. Bukhara


After the Russian conquest of Samarkand in 1868, the Emirate of Bukhara remained nominally independent but in fact became a Russian protectorate linked to Russian settlements by the Trans-Caspian Railway. In contrast to Samarkand, where Western influence was much in evidence, in Bukhara the traditional culture and appearance remained relatively intact. Seen here is a guard standing at attention in a snow-covered lane near the palace of the emir of Bukhara. The guard holds a saber in his right hand. The winter uniform is of Russian design. Behind the guard is an array of ancient iron cannons. In the background are stucco-coated walls of adobe brick with a pointed arch. 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 (present-day Uzbekistan and neighboring states), which he visited on a number of occasions, including a trip in January 1907 focused on the ancient cities of Bukhara and Samarkand.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Часовой у дворца и старинныя пушки. Бухара

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: September 30, 2016