View of Lake Nero from the Bell Tower of the Church of All Saints. Rostov Velikii


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. It is located on Lake Nero, seen in this view toward the south from the bell tower of the Church of All Saints. This shallow lake with low banks gets its name from an ancient Finno-Ugric root word for lake or river. The lake is estimated to have existed for 500,000 years. It is drained by the small Vyoksa River, which merges to form the Kotorosl River, a tributary of the Volga. Archeological evidence suggests the presence of Bronze Age settlements around the lake as early as 5,000 years ago. The foreground shows a tree-lined street leading toward the Moscow road. On the right, a large brick house overlooks the lake. 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

Вид на озеро Неро с колокольни Всесвятской церкви. Ростов Великий

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