Plyos. View of the City with Its Main Cathedral


In the late summer of 1910, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) made a trip down the Volga River from Uglich to Yaroslavl. During the trip, he photographed the town of Pl’os, picturesquely located on the river’s high right bank. First mentioned in medieval chronicles under the year 1141, Pl’os served as a fortified point with surveillance over an extended stretch of the Volga. Sacked in February 1238 during the Mongol invasion, the log fortress was rebuilt in 1410 by Grand Prince Vasilii I. After Ivan the Terrible’s conquest of the Kazan khanate in 1552, the strategic significance of Pl’os waned. This view from the riverbank shows the promontory of the early fortress (gorodishche). The site was renamed Cathedral Hill in homage to an ensemble consisting of the Dormition Cathedral (1699) and the Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of the Virgin, whose cupolas are visible in the photograph above the golden September foliage. Built in 1828 primarily for summer worship, the Kazan Cathedral was demolished during the Soviet period. 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

Плëс. Вид на городище с главным собором

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 8, 2018