Gates on the Southern Side of the Cathedral of the Transfiguration in the City of Tver


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 the Volga River city of Tver’, first mentioned in 1135. Shown here is the south portal of the city’s Cathedral of the Transfiguration, rebuilt in 1689–96 to replace its 13th-century predecessor. The massive iron doors and the pointed perspective arches are typical of medieval Russian cathedral architecture. To the right is a 19th-century painting of Prince Mikhail Yaroslavich of Tver (1271–1318) in the style of an icon. Both Mikhail and his main rival, Prince Yury Danilovich of Moscow, had been summoned by Uzbeg-khan, the ruler of the Golden Horde, to settle a dispute. At that time, most of Russia was under the control of the Horde and the Russian princes paid tribute to the khans. Yury arrived first, which allowed him to sway Uzbek-khan’s decision in his favor, which in turn led to the arrest of Mikhail in the summer of 1318 and his subsequent murder. In 1549, the Orthodox Church canonized Mikhail as a martyr whose death spared his subjects a punitive raid by the Horde. Partially visible above the portal is a painting of the Transfiguration. 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

Врата с южн. стороны Преображенскаго собора в г. Твери

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