Woman in Traditional Dress and Jewelry Standing on Rug in Front of Yurt

This photograph shows a young married woman of the Teke ethnic group near the Murgab Oasis in the region of Bayramaly (present-day Turkmenistan). Settlements along the Murgab River and the city of Merv (now Mary) were annexed by the Russian Empire in 1884. The oasis takes its name from the Murgab River, which flows from Afghanistan into Turkmenistan and forms part of the border between the two countries. The woman’s festive attire includes a patterned robe and elaborate headdress. Her shoulders are draped with strings of beads. She stands on a woven carpet at the entrance to a kibitka (wattle yurt) made from reeds. The ribs of the frame under the felt cover are visible above the decorated door lintel. 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. Prokudin-Gorskii was particularly interested in recently acquired territories of the Russian Empire such as Turkestan (present-day Uzbekistan and neighboring states), which he visited on a number of occasions, including two trips in 1911. Turkestan appealed to him not only for its Islamic architecture but also for examples of traditional culture.

Brick Stairs Leading to Tree-Lined Stream

In the late 19th century, the Russian Empire acquired large territories in Central Asia that became known as Russian Turkestan (present-day Uzbekistan and neighboring states). Large parts of Turkestan were suitable for raising high quality cotton, and cotton production rapidly became a priority in the Russian development of the region. Essential to this process was the construction of extensive irrigation projects such as the one on the Murgab estate near the town of Bayramaly (present-day Turkmenistan). The main source of water was the Murgab (Morghab) River, which flows from Afghanistan into Turkmenistan and forms part of the border between the two countries. Shown here is an aryk (irrigation canal). Its careful design includes trees to reinforce the bank and shrubs that give a park-like appearance. 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. Prokudin-Gorskii was particularly interested in recently acquired territories of the Russian Empire such as Turkestan, which he visited on a number of occasions, including two trips in 1911. Turkestan appealed to him not only for its Islamic architecture but also for the transformation brought by Russian settlement.

Tree-Lined Canal

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire. 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.

Four People Seated on a Carpet, in Front of a Backdrop of Textiles

This photograph, taken in a yurt located near the Murgab Oasis in the region of Bayramaly (present-day Turkmenistan), shows a family of the Teke ethnic group. Seated in the center is the young married son of the family. The woman on the far right is presumably his mother, while his young wife is seated to the left. All of them are dressed in colorful festive attire. The wife wears profuse costume ornaments that indicate social status. In the background are richly patterned woven carpets. (The center of the front carpet is overexposed by light.) Although nomadic in origin, part of the Teke adopted a settled existence and served as cavalry in the Russian armed forces. 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. Prokudin-Gorskii was particularly interested in recently acquired territories of the Russian Empire such as Turkestan (present-day Uzbekistan and neighboring states), which he visited on a number of occasions, including two trips in 1911. Turkestan appealed to him for its examples of traditional culture.

Brick Aqueduct in Park-Like Setting

In the late 19th century, the Russian Empire acquired large territories in Central Asia that became known as Russian Turkestan (present-day Uzbekistan and neighboring states). Large parts of Turkestan were suitable for raising high quality cotton, and cotton production rapidly became a priority in the Russian development of the region. Essential to this process was the creation of irrigation projects such as the one on the Murgab estate near the town of Bayramaly (present-day Turkmenistan). The main source of water was the Murgab (Morghab) River, which flows from Afghanistan into Turkmenistan and forms part of the border between the two countries. Shown here is an aryk (irrigation canal) at the fourth irrigation regulator. The careful design gives a park-like impression to this utilitarian construction. 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. Prokudin-Gorskii was particularly interested in recently acquired territories of the Russian Empire such as Turkestan, which he visited on a number of occasions, including two trips in 1911. Turkestan appealed to him not only for its Islamic architecture but also for the transformation brought by Russian settlement.

Sacks Stacked in Storage Room, Pulley System Machinery Mounted along Wall

The Murgab estate near the town of Bayramaly (present-day Turkmenistan) was a cotton center. The Murgab Oasis and the city of Merv (now Mary) were annexed by the Russian Empire in 1884. The oasis takes its name from the Murgab River, which flows from Afghanistan into Turkmenistan and forms part of the border between the two countries. Irrigation in that area enabled large-scale production of cotton and cotton byproducts, including press cake from cotton seed. Seen in this industrial building are sacks of press cake ready for shipping. In the background is machinery for processing the cotton seeds. 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. Prokudin-Gorskii was particularly interested in recently acquired territories of the Russian Empire such as Turkestan (present-day Uzbekistan and neighboring states), which he visited on a number of occasions, including two trips in 1911. Turkestan appealed to him not only for its Islamic culture but also for the transformation brought by Russian settlement. Large parts of Turkestan were suitable for the raising of cotton, which soon became a priority in Russia’s Central Asian territories.

View of the City of Tobolsk from the North, from the Bell Tower of the Church of the Transfiguration

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire. 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.

Small Town of Vershiny near the City of Tobolsk

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire. 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.

Small Town of Vershiny near the City of Tobolsk

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire. 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.

Adobe Buildings and Yurts, Field in Foreground, Trees in Background

Shown here are new structures of adobe brick within an oasis grove at the Tekin settlement, located near the town of Bayramaly (present-day Turkmenistan), not far from the ruins of the ancient city of Merv. To the right is a group of mounds that appear to be dwellings, as well as the ruined walls of an old adobe structure. The earth in the foreground is parched, but fertile when irrigated. The nearby town of Bayramaly, in Mary Province on the railroad from Ashgabat to Tashkent, was known in the Russian Empire as a climate spa. 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. Prokudin-Gorskii was particularly interested in recently acquired territories of the Russian Empire such as Turkestan (present-day Uzbekistan and neighboring states), which he visited on a number of occasions, including two trips in 1911. His work there reveals a dual purpose: to illustrate progress and development as a result of Russian settlement, and to record the monuments of traditional Islamic culture.