General View of Rostov Velikii from the Bell Tower of the Church of All Saints


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944)  visited Rostov the Great (Velikii), located some 210 kilometers northeast of Moscow. First mentioned in chronicles under the year 862, Rostov was a major cultural and political center in medieval Russia. Prokudin-Gorskii took a series of photographs of the town from the bell tower of the Church of All Saints, located to the northwest of the town center. (The church was built in 1776 and razed in the 1930s.) In the foreground of this view toward the north is a grassy sward and well-kept boulevard lined with birch trees. The houses, many of which are built of brick, have pitched metal roofs. On the right is the south facade of the Church of Saint Leontii “beyond the Moat”, built in 1772 with an impressive bell tower. During the Soviet period the church was ransacked and its upper structure removed. In the early 1960s an attempt was made to dynamite the structure, but the ruined walls remained. 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

Общий вид Ростова с колокольни Всесвятской церкви

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: March 3, 2017