Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) was a pioneer in the development of color photography. In the early 1900s, he formulated an ambitious plan to carry out a photographic survey of the Russian Empire. After gaining the support of Tsar Nicholas II, between 1909 and 1915 he completed surveys of 11 regions, traveling in a specially equipped railroad car provided by the Ministry of Transportation. This photograph depicts the Spaso-Evfrosinevskii Monastery for women, with the Krestovozdvizhenski Cathedral, built in 1897, in the center. Located near Polotsk in present-day Belarus, the monastery was founded in the 12th century by the Polotsk princess, Evfrosinia, who served as its mother superior for 45 years and to whom the monastery later was dedicated. Polotsk was taken over by the Polish Commonwealth in 1579, and the monastery came under the control of the Roman Catholic Jesuits. In 1772, after the first partition of Poland, Polotsk passed to the Russian Empire. A few years later, the Spaso-Evfrosinevskii Monastery was given back to the Russian Orthodox Church. Despite the turbulent history of the monastery, some of the 12th-century frescos have been preserved. Local art historians believe that one of the frescoes depicts Evfrosinia herself.