Church Nestled between Mountains, Possibly Caucasus


This photograph of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, attached to the local Russian army garrison battalion, was taken in the mountain town of Artvin (at that time in Batumi Province) in the Caucasus. Following the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, the Artvin territory was transferred from the Ottoman to the Russian Empire. In 1921 the territory was returned to Turkey under the terms of the Treaty of Kars. The Church of Saints Peter and Paul was established in 1875 for the Kuban Battalion, but it occupied temporary quarters until the consecration of this building in 1913. The elongated structure resembles a basilica, with a dome over the sanctuary in the east and a bell tower in the west. The land surrounding the church is mountainous with very limited ground cover. The emulsion surfaces of the glass negatives for this image show significant damage. 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. In 1905 and in 1912 he photographed widely in the Caucasus.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Церковь, приютившаяся в горах, возможно на Кавказе

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: July 9, 2015