Torzhok. Church of Michael the Archangel


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 visited Torzhok, situated on the Tvertsa River about 60 kilometers west of Tver’. Referred to in written sources as early as 1139, Torzhok is among Russia’s oldest trading centers. After the founding of Saint Petersburg in 1703, Torzhok saw a renewal of its fortunes when the town became a transit center to the new capital. This prosperity was reflected in the building of large churches such as the Church of the Annunciation, seen in this northeast view taken from the Monastery of Saints Boris and Gleb. The church was built in 1864 to replace an earlier church built in 1758 on a steep promontory created by three small streams. Its monumental design follows the Russo-Byzantine style defined by Konstantin Ton. In 1887, the architect Viktor Nazarin enlarged the bell tower to suit the proportions of the main structure. The church is also referred to as Archangel Michael, after a secondary altar dedication. 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

Торжок, церковь Михаила Архангела

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