Rampart near the Boris-Gleb Monastery. Torzhok


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, located 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; the name “Torzhok” comes from the word for trading site. The dominant architectural feature of Torzhok is the Monastery of Saints Boris and Gleb, reputed to have been founded in 1038 and dedicated to early martyrs of the Russian Orthodox Church. Seen in this view along the right (west) bank of the Tvertsa is the north section of the monastery’s outer wall, with a small corner tower. To the right is a massive remnant of the town’s earthen medieval citadel, whose ramparts were originally capped with a log wall. A cobbled street lined with a row of birch trees descends to a small boat landing, probably used for a river crossing. To the left is a boatman’s small house with attached sheds. 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

Крепостной вал около Борисоглебскаго монастыря. [Торжок]

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: January 11, 2017