City of Torzhok. View from the West. Tvertsa River


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 Torzhok, located 60 kilometers west of Tver’. Referred to in written sources as early as 1139, Torzhok is among Russia’s oldest trading centers; the name “Torzhok” comes from the word for trading site. After the founding of Saint Petersburg in 1703, Torzhok saw a renewal of its fortunes as a transit center to the new capital. This view toward the southeast was taken from the high right (west) bank of the Tvertsa River on the town’s Saints Boris and Gleb side, named after a large monastery located behind the vantage point of this photograph. Along the embankment are 18th and 19th-century masonry houses and shops, some of which still exist. In the distance is the Church of Saint Nicholas, built in 1784 to replace a wooden church. The interior contained a secondary altar dedicated to Saints Cosma and Damian, third-century martyrs revered in Russia. The church underwent a major rebuilding in 1850. 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. Торжок. Вид с зап. стороны. Река Тверца

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 11, 2017