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The Russian Empire Revisited - Photos Then and Now

Similar scenes from different worlds


A century ago, photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokhudin-Gorskii traveled through the territory of the Russian Empire. Under the patronage of Tsar Nicholas II, he documented diverse people and places using an early color photography process of his own invention.

In recent years, Prokhudin-Gorskii's work became an Internet sensation when digital technology enabled the photos' restoration to crisp, colorful representations of the early 1900s. A small group of enthusiasts began tracking down the exact places captured during the photographer's travels. The following pairs of photos, separated by a century of war, revolution, and changing borders, are remarkable for how little appears to have changed in more than a hundred years.

In the early 20th century, Sergei Prokhudin-Gorskii (left) received the blessing of the tsar to take photographs across the entire Russian Empire. The well-known and obscure places where he set up his tripod are now being located by people like Shota Guja
Church in New Ladoga, Russia. 1909/undated
Church in Yaroslavl, Russia. 1911/2009
Church of the Nativity of Christ, Krokhino, Russia. 1909/2013
The village of Dryannavo, Russia. 1912/2015
Railroad tracks near the town of Kondopoga, Russia. 1916/2012
A bend in the Chusovaya River near the village of Sloboda, Russia. 1912/2011
Nilov Monastery in Tver, Russia. 1910/2010
Vitebsk, Belarus. 1912/2012
Monument to Peter the Great in Veskovo, Russia. 1911/2008
Tiles on the Cathedral of the Venerable Monastery in Suzdal, Russia. 1912/2009
Railway in Perm, Russia. 1909/2012
A street corner in Ostashkov, Russia. 1910/2010
The cathedral in Mozhaisk, Russia. 1911/2008
15 Another view of the cathedral in Mozhaisk. 1911/2010
Torzhok, Russia. 1910/2010
Dmitrievskii Cathedral in Vladimir, Russia. 1911/2009
A fresco in the Church of St. John Chrysostom in Yaroslavl, Russia. 1911/2011
The Kremlin of Rostov Veliky, Russia. 1911/2009
Ferapontov Monastery, near Mozhaisk, Russia. 1911/2010
Another view of the Ferapontov Monastery. 1911/2012
A palace in Borodino, Russia. 1911/2012
Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir, Russia. 2011/2015
Nilov Monastery in Tver, Russia. 1910/2010
Another view of Nilov Monastery. 1910/2010
A madrassah in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. 1911/2014
Church in Ankhimovo, Russia. 1909/2013
Tobolsk, Russia, seen from the town's cathedral. 1912/2012
One of the gates to Smolensk, Russia. 1912/2008
Novinka, Russia. 1910/2010
A monument in the town of Polotsk commemorating Russia's 1812 war with France. 1912/2012

 

 


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