Same Church Holy Mother of God Church in the Village of Gorodnia from the Other Side. The Oldest Church in the Province


In 1910, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) photographed in the Tver region, including in the village of Gorodnia, which is located on the right bank of the Volga River 35 kilometers southeast of Tver. Seen here is a west view of the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin, the region’s oldest extant church, built at the site of an ancient citadel. Only a limestone base resting on a foundation of fieldstone survives from the original structure, presumably built in the 14th century. After a fire destroyed the structure’s wooden elements in 1412, the church was restored, apparently in the 1430s by Prince Boris Alexandrovich of Tver. Although the settlement, then known as Vertiazin, was sacked by Ivan the Terrible in 1569 and again by the Poles in the early 17th century, the church survived until another fire in 1716. In the early 1740s, the damaged structure was renovated and a brick refectory and bell tower were added in the west. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire on the eve of the Russian Revolution. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s 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

Та-же церковь с другой стор. Самый древний храм в губ.

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