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The Russian Empire Revisited

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.

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