Detail of the Western Wall in the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ i.e. the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin. Suzdal


The ancient town of Suzdal’ was a rich center of medieval Russian heritage. Finno-Ugric and Slavic peoples had long lived in the area before Prince Vladimir Monomakh of Kiev arrived at the turn of the 12th century with a new wave of settlers. The most important of the town’s many churches was the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin, built in 1222–25 by Prince Yurii Vsevolovich on the site of an earlier church constructed around 1102. The structure was primarily made of light tufa, with limestone for the details. In 1445 the upper part of the cathedral collapsed. When rebuilt in 1528–30, the stone walls were lowered to the level of the arcade frieze, while the upper structure was rebuilt of brick. Seen in this 1912 view is part of the south facade, with a decorative arcade strip of limestone columns recessed into the wall surface. Also visible are two stone female masks. 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

Деталь западной стены Собора Рождества Христова. [т.е. Кафедральный Собор Рождества Пресвятой Богородицы]. Суздаль

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