Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii was a great photographer. Sometime around 1905 he figured out a way to take color photographs on glass plates, and in 1907 got several patents for it.
In the early 1900s Prokudin-Gorskii formulated an ambitious plan for a photographic survey of the Russian Empire that won the support of Tsar Nicholas II. Between 1909-1912, and again in 1915, he completed surveys of eleven regions, traveling in a specially equipped railroad car provided by the Ministry of Transportation.
In 1948 the US LIbrary Of Congress purchased the plates, and figured out a way to extract the colors, and now we have truly stunning color pictures of Russia right before The Revolution.
One of the things that struck me is how clean everything is. Pollution from the industrial revolution hadn’t yet begun to land on everything and make it all dingy.
If you have the time, flip through some of these pictures, they’re amazing.