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Receiving Room in the Settlement of Spassky. Golodnaia Steppe

1905
One of the main initiators of development in Russian Turkestan was Grand Duke Nicholas Constantinovich (1850–1918), grandson of Tsar Nicholas I. In 1881 Nicholas settled in Tashkent, where he sponsored philanthropic and entrepreneurial projects. Foremost among them was a model agricultural estate that involved a vast irrigation scheme in Golodnaia Steppe (“Hungry Steppe”). The long-term goal of the project was to provide arable land to Russian settlers. Seen here is the reception center of the settlers’ organization at the new village of Spasskoe. The brick building shows careful design, with a skylight in the center and architectural detailing, but the treeless space in this late winter view suggests harsh and primitive conditions. 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. In 1911 his travels took him to Turkestan (present-day Uzbekistan and neighboring states), which appealed to him as a showcase for the transformation brought about by Russian settlement.

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1905<br />
One of the main initiators of development in Russian Turkestan was Grand Duke Nicholas Constantinovich (1850–1918), grandson of Tsar Nicholas I. In 1881 Nicholas settled in Tashkent, where he sponsored philanthropic and entrepreneurial projects. Foremost among them was a model agricultural estate that involved a vast irrigation scheme in Golodnaia Steppe (“Hungry Steppe”). The long-term goal of the project was to provide arable land to Russian settlers. Seen here is the reception center of the settlers’ organization at the new village of Spasskoe. The brick building shows careful design, with a skylight in the center and architectural detailing, but the treeless space in this late winter view suggests harsh and primitive conditions. 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. In 1911 his travels took him to Turkestan (present-day Uzbekistan and neighboring states), which appealed to him as a showcase for the transformation brought about by Russian settlement.