Group of Eleven Adults and Children, Seated on a Rug, in Front of a Yurt

This remarkable portrait shows a family of the Teke ethnic group near the Murgab Oasis in the region of Bayramaly (present-day Turkmenistan). 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.  Seated on the far right is the family patriarch, whose tunic displays three Russian medals. His wife is seated in the center. On the far left are his married son and daughter-in-law. The adults and children are dressed in colorful festive attire. Behind them is the entrance to a kibitka (wattle yurt) made from reeds, with a felt cover. 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.

City of Tobolsk from the Northeast. In the Distance One Can See the Confluence of the Tobol and Irtysh Rivers

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.

View of the City of Tobolsk from Assumption Cathedral from the Northwest

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.

Assumption Cathedral in Tobolsk. Rampart and Part of a Fence

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.

Church of Saint Nicholas the Wonder Worker, in Tobolsk (350 Years Old)

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.

Church of the Holy Mother of God, in Tobolsk (300 Years Old)

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.

Church of the Holy Mother of God (from Other Side). 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.

View of the City of Tobolsk from the Bell Tower of the Church of the Transfiguration at the Spiritual Seminary

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.

Confluence of the Irtysh and Tobol Rivers. 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.

Part of the Construction of the Left Side of the Bridge (Taken Downriver). Ialutorovsk

The town of Ialutorovsk (present-day Tiumen Oblast) was founded in 1659 at the Tatar settlement of Iavlu-Tura. Located some 75 kilometers southeast of Tiumen, Ialutorovsk grew slowly as a local administrative center and place of political exile. The area was described extensively in Letters from Ialutorovsk (1845) by Ivan Pushchin, one of the Decembrists (nobles who rose against the tsarist regime in December 1825). With the institution of steamboat service along the Tobol River in the early 20th century, the town saw new development. In 1912 a rail line reached Ialutorovsk from Tiumen as part of an alternative route to Omsk on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Shown here is a railroad bridge under construction across the Tobol. In the middle of the frame a new church stands, covered in scaffolding. 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 1912 Prokudin-Gorskii took part in an expedition along the Kama-Tobol Waterway and on that occasion visited Ialutorovsk.