This image, captured by photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii in the early Twentieth Century, was taken near the current city of Mary in Turkmenistan. It is among ruins of the former city of Merv, which at the time was part of the Russian Empire. The famed ancient city was once the biggest city in the world and was part of the Silk Road.
I specifically liked this photograph because it gives a new perspective on the Russian Empire. When traditionally thinking of Russia, we think of Moscow, the Vulga River, and other well-known parts of the country. We often fail to realize just how huge Russia really is, and how big it was at the height of the empire. At one point it stretched as far south as Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan and virtually surrounded the Caspian Sea.
Who thinks of sand and adobe buildings when they think of Russia? I know I don’t.