Hut of a Settler


This photo was taken by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, in the Mugan Steppe area of the outer Caucasus region of the Russian Empire (Modern Day Azerbaijan). The photo depicts a “traditional Ukrainian house” built by peasant settlers, who moved to the outskirts of the Empire in hopes of finding arable and livable farming land on which they could make a living. In the background, you can see two women that, after a closer look, appear to be working on some sort of fence or wall to their property.


I thought this photo was intriguing because it highlights the great contrast in architecture in the different areas of the Russian Empire. In one far reach of the Empire (the Caucasus and Black Sea region) the architecture appears to be much more primitive and rural (Hut of a Settler). As can be seen in other photos taken from the Caucasus region by Prokudin-Gorskii, the architecture is very similar to the “Hut of a Settler” picture. Contrast this to Prokudin-Gorskii’s “Spaso-Evfrosinevskii Monastery for Women, Three Versts from the City of Polotsk” photograph (Photo above the paragraph), taken in modern-day Belarus, in which the architecture is very polished, bright, and culturally significant. This contrast could potentially highlight not only a difference in architecture, but also a difference in culture, wealth, and significance to the Russian empire itself.


Prokudin-Gorskii, S. M. (1970, January 01). Mugan. Hut of a Settler from Kharkov Province. Grafovka. Retrieved January 21, 2018, from Sergei Mikhailovich%2C 1863-1944

Prokudin-Gorskii, S. M. (1970, January 01). Spaso-Evfrosinevskii Monastery for Women, Three Versts from the City of Polotsk. View from the South. Retrieved January 21, 2018, from Sergei Mikhailovich%2C 1863-1944

5 thoughts on “Hut of a Settler

  1. The comparison of the different styles of architecture was very interesting. In the image I chose for my blogpost, there was a carpenter who was debarking a tree. Perhaps he was doing so in order for it to be used in the construction of a hut similar to the one in your photo. I agree that the difference in style between different areas in the Russian empire probably illustrates a difference in wealth, culture, and values. I believe that in a empire so vast, it would be almost impossible to prevent different subcultures from rising.


  2. Great post! Your highlighting of the differences throughout the empire, even in terms of development, is interesting and continues to be a important throughout the Soviet Union. The size and diversity of the Russian empire are so great that it would be impossible for it to be uniform, yet the great differences are still sometimes shocking. I like how you used a second Prokudin-Gorskii photo to prove your point, and I think it makes it more meaningful.


  3. I enjoyed that you used two separate pictures to compare and contrast the lifestyle and architecture of Russia at the time. Goes to show the vast difference in economic status people lived under in the wake of the end of serfdom. Although a monastery, you can still see where the Orthodox values of Russian society remain, as well as the importance of, or the lack there of, the peasants.


  4. I enjoyed your comments on the differences of development between the two areas of the Russian Empire. The regions away from significant buildings such as Churches and monasteries were less developed because of the significance religion played during this time. The difference in architectural style is also attributed to the wealth of the areas, as the far east regions were less populated and generated less money for the economy.


  5. I really love these photographs! So often in historical research we get caught up in what the people in the photo show us about society. It’s so refreshing to take a step back from analyzing people and to analyze architecture. These buildings provide a really unique take on Russian society at the time including the standard form of work and income among the peasantry. The monastery and its grandeur and scale are really interesting; the relationship between the Russian government and the Orthodox church is incredibly complex and I think you see a tidbit of that here. Really great article!


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