View of the Volga River from the Site of an Old Town near Staritsa


In the 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 Staritsa, the population of which in that year was 6,654. Located near the confluence of the Staritsa River with the Volga at the eastern edge of the Valdai Hills, Staritsa was founded in 1297 by Prince Mikhail Yaroslavich of Tver’ (1272-1318). This north view down the Volga was taken near the site of the original fortress (gorodishche). On the left, a limestone marker commemorates the location of the ancient Cathedral of Saints Boris and Gleb, early 11th-century Kievan princes whose martyrdom was widely revered in this area. The marker, like the cathedral, no longer exists. At the lower right, a wooden pontoon bridge crosses the river toward the Dormition Monastery on the right bank. Flatboats are moored to the bank, and log rafts float down the river. Although the Volga is still relatively small at Staritsa, this sweeping landscape gives a sense of its powerful presence. 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

Вид на Волгу с городища у Старицы

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