City of Rzhev. Nativity of Christ Cathedral


In the early summer of 1910, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in Tver’ Province northwest of Moscow. Among the towns he visited was Rzhev, the population of which in that year was 22,400. During the medieval period, Rzhev frequently changed hands between Lithuania and different Russian principalities. In 1521 it was finally absorbed by Muscovy. As the first major town on the Volga River, Rzhev prospered in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The river divided the town into two parts known as the Prince Dmitrii (right bank) and Prince Fyodor (left bank) sides. Seen here is a southwest view of the neoclassical Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ, completed in 1847 as a dominant landmark on the Prince Fyodor side. Just to the left of the cathedral bell tower is the Church of the Annunciation (1824), also built in a neoclassical style with a low dome and semi-rotundal narthex. At the far left is the Church of the Intercession (1785). These churches were destroyed during World War II. 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

г. Ржев. Собор Рождества Христова

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: January 13, 2017