Altar Side of the Dmitrievskii Cathedral. Vladimir


The ancient Russian city of Vladimir is believed to have been founded by Grand Prince Vladimir Monomachus of Kiev in 1108. The settlement rapidly became a center of power in northeastern medieval Rus, until its sacking by the Mongols in February 1238 led to an irreversible decline. Vladimir was renowned for its late 12th-century limestone churches. One of the most prominent was the Cathedral of Saint Dmitrii (Saint Demetrius of Thessalonika), built as a palace church by Prince Vsevolod III in the 1190s. The upper surface of the structure is covered in elaborate carvings that depict Christ, King David, an array of saints and figures from the Old Testament, as well as fantastic beasts and floral motifs. This view from the east shows the apsidal structure that contains the altar. To the left is a bell gable structure razed during the Soviet period. 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. This photograph was taken in 1911.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Алтарная сторона Дмитриевскаго собора. [Владимир]

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