Bell Tower of the Kremlin (Built by Metropolitan Iona). Rostov Velikii


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) visited Rostov the Great, located some 210 kilometers northeast of Moscow. The town’s main landmark is the kremlin (citadel), more precisely known as the Court of the Metropolitan, constructed primarily in the 1670s and 1680s by the powerful prelate Metropolitan Jonah Sysoevich (circa 1607–90). The main bell tower (zvonnitsa) was built in 1682–89 in two stages and holds a total of 15 bells. The main structure rose to three arched openings for the bells, most of which had names such as “the Ram.” In 1688, the master Flor Terentyev cast the largest bell, whose enormous weight of 2,000 poods (about 32,600 kilograms) required a separate structure. A taller north segment was added to the tower’s north side in 1689 to house this bell, named Sysoi in honor of Jonah’s father. Each of the four segments is crowned with a drum, cupola and cross. The bottom level contained a small church dedicated to the Entry of Christ into Jerusalem. At the beginning of the 20th century, 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

Колокольня Кремля (построена Митрополитом Ионою). 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: May 23, 2017