In the Courtyard of a Sart Home. On the Outskirts of Samarkand


The caption identifies this house as belonging to a Sart, a term used in the previous century to refer to town dwellers, as well as to inhabitants of this area before the coming of Uzbek tribes in the 16th century. This courtyard view of a suburban villa shows elements of Western construction in the brickwork, the window design, and the roof cornice. Also prominent are traditional decorative elements, such as the wooden columns that support the cornice and the ceramic panels above the French doors. Although not identified, the owner of a house this imposing, with a mixture of local and Western elements, presumably belonged to the local elite and was in favor with the Russian administration. 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 different parts of the empire. He was interested in recently acquired territories of the Russian Empire such as Turkestan (present-day Uzbekistan and neighboring states), which he visited several times. During two winter trips, in January 1907 and February 1911, he photographed scenes of local life in Samarkand.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Во дворе сартскаго дома. В окрестностях Самарканда

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 30, 2016