The ancient town of Suzdal’ was a rich center of medieval Russian heritage. Finno-Ugric and Slavic peoples had long lived in the area before Prince Vladimir Monomakh of Kiev arrived at the turn of the 12th century with a new wave of settlers. The most important of the town’s many churches was the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin, built in 1222–25 by Prince Yurii Vsevolovich on the site of an earlier church constructed around 1102. The structure was primarily made of light tufa, with limestone for the details. In 1445 the upper part of the cathedral collapsed. When rebuilt in 1528–30, the stone walls were lowered to the level of the arcade frieze, while the upper structure was rebuilt of brick. Seen in this 1912 view is part of the south facade, with a decorative arcade strip of limestone columns recessed into the wall surface. Also visible are two stone female masks. 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.