Door in the Church of John the Theologian. Rostov Velikii


The ancient city of Rostov the Great (present-day Rostov in Yaroslavl Oblast) was known as early as the 9th century. Between 1670 and 1690 Metropolitan Jonah Sysoevich created on the north shore of Lake Nero a remarkable complex known as the Rostov Kremlin (formally “Metropolitan's Court”) that included several churches as well as walls and towers. Seen in this evocative photograph is the west portal of the Church of Saint John the Divine. This church, one of the most beautiful in Rostov, was built in 1683 above the west gate created for the metropolitan’s walled complex. The portal was protected by an enclosed gallery (dimly visible to the left) that extended along the south and west facades of the church. With its painted perspective arches, the portal reflects ancient traditions in Russian church design. Flanking the portal are frescoes under a protective screen. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. 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

Дверь в церкви Иоанна Богослова. 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: September 23, 2016