By the beginning of the 20th century, the plantation and processing plants at Chakva, Georgia, north of the port of Batumi, had become one of the main suppliers of tea to the Russian Empire and an alternative to imports from China. Seen here is a hillside planted with rows of young tea bushes. The natural amphitheater formed by the terrain was well suited for cultivation of the plants, which required careful tending. In the 19th century the Russian Empire expanded into the southern Caucasus, particularly after the conclusion of the Caucasus War in 1864. Previously, this area was dominated by the Ottoman Empire, which subjugated the different kingdoms of the southern Caucasus in the first half of the 16th century. With its mild, humid Black Sea climate, this region was suited to the cultivation of semitropical plants such as tea. 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 1905 and in 1912 Prokudin-Gorskii traveled in the Caucasus, including the territory of Georgia and the Black Sea coast.