Volgoverkhove Monastery for Women. Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord under Construction. The Wooden Church of Saint Nicholas the Wonder Worker Dedicated to the Memory of 17 October. Volga River Region


In May 1910, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) photographed in the Ostashkov area of Tver Province. This view shows the Volgoverkhovskii Convent of Saint Olga near the source of the Volga River at the village of Volgoverkhove (“upper reaches of Volga”). The convent had its origins in 1906 and was officially recognized in 1909. The large brick Church of the Transfiguration, seen here from the south, was begun in 1904 to a plan by Viktor I. Nazarin. Because of financial difficulties, the main altar was not consecrated until 1920, although the convent had been officially closed in 1918. Nuns continued to live at the site as an agricultural commune until its final closure in 1924. To the left is the wooden Church of Saint Nicholas, built by Nazarin in 1907-08 to commemorate the miraculous survival of the Tsar and his family from a train wreck in October 1888 at Borki (near Kharkov). Both churches survived the Soviet period, and in 1999 the convent was reopened. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire. 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 different parts of the empire.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Волговерховский женск. монаст. Строющийся храм Преображения Господня. Деревянный храм во имя Св. Николая Чудотворца в память 17 октября. Район Волги

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: October 7, 2016