Barracks of the Ministry of Communication and Transportation. Oka River


The Oka River is a major western tributary of the Volga, which it enters at the city of Nizhnii Novgorod. The Oka is fed by the Moscow River, which joins it just south of Kolomna. This 1912 view is set within a flood plain along the river near Beloomut (Moscow Oblast), where extensive hydraulic works were under construction. In the foreground is a floating wooden barracks for transportation personnel. A small passenger boat is visible on the left. On the other side of the river (the left bank) three churches with bell towers rise in the background, including one that appears to be the Church of the Resurrection in Liubichi. Because of the dearth of good roads, river networks were critical for transportation in Russia since the early medieval period and they remained so in the 20th century. 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 parts of the empire.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Барак Министерства Путей Сообщения. Река Ока

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 22, 2015