Entry Doors to the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Savior in Our Savior-Iakovlevskii Monastery. Rostov Velikii


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) visited the town of Rostov the Great, located some 210 kilometers northeast of Moscow, where he photographed the Savior-Saint James (Iakovlev) Saint Dimitrii Monastery, founded in 1389 by Bishop Iakov of Rostov (died 1392). To the west of the monastery walls is the large Church of the Savior on the Sands, the remnant of the Convent of the Savior founded in the 13th century by Princess Maria Mikhailovna (circa 1212–71), widow of Rostov Prince Vasil’ko Konstantinovich (1208–38). Vasil’ko was killed in Mongol captivity in March 1238 and later canonized as a martyr. In 1764, the convent was merged with the Saint James Monastery. The majestic church was built at the turn of the 17th century and expanded in the middle of the century. Seen here is the west portal leading from the narthex to the main space. The bright colors of the wall paintings and decorative elements of the perspective arch are from a late 19th century restoration. 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

Входныя двери церкви Спаса-Преображения в Спасо-Яковлевск. мон. 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 http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.

Last updated: October 24, 2017