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Yasnaya Polyana - A Glimpse into the Life of Tolstoy

Russia is a country that has a rich and turbulent history, but has also been blessed with a magnificent cultural and traditional heritage. One of the most celebrated authors to come out of Russia is Leo Tolstoy. Both of his legendary books, namely “Anna Karenina” and “War and Peace”, were international sensations and cemented Tolstoy’s legacy into the fabric of Russia and in many hearts around the world. It was at Yasnaya Polyana that the life of Leo Tolstoy came full circle.

Leo Tolstoy was born on his family’s estate, Yasnaya Polyana, in the year 1828. Here, in the peaceful surroundings of the Tula region, Leo Tolstoy enjoyed a free and comfortable childhood, and in his later years it inspired him to write some of the best literary masterpieces ever read. A mere two hundred kilometres from Moscow, the Yasnaya Polyana Estate feels like it is a secluded paradise, hidden from the harshness of the outside world. The estate is also a natural reserve that is filled with forests, breathtaking orchards and endless green parks that nurtured a young boy and watched him grow into an icon.

Although Tolstoy spent his entire life in Yasnaya Polyana, he unfortunately passed away in the Astapovo train station in 1910, but his remains were brought back to the estate for burial. In the year 1921, the entire estate was declared a natural reserve and a museum to the life of Leo Tolstoy. During World War Two the Russian government removed all the items of value and hid them before the Germans could move in and destroy the estate. After the war, Tolstoy’s mansion was restored to its former grandeur and all the priceless collections and exhibits returned to their rightful home.

Visitors to the Yasnaya Polyana estate will be amazed at the size of the grounds. The magnificent buildings, personal items and the staggering library containing twenty-two thousand books, has become a popular tourist attraction. Because of the history the estate has with horse breeding, there are approximately thirty horses in the stable yard that offer visitors the opportunity to explore the estate on horseback or in a horse drawn carriage. Guided tours of the buildings, such as the Kuzminsky House, the family cemetery and the Tolstoy house, are given in German, English, French and Russian. After a long day of discovering the wonder of the estate and gaining insight into the life of this magnificent writer, the Preshpect Cafe will treat visitors to a few Tolstoy family recipes straight from Sofia Tolstoy’s list of favourite dishes.

Here, visitors will also be able to buy souvenirs, gifts and works of applied art and handicrafts. Booklets, cards and guidebooks of the estate are also available from the café. When in Russia visitors should ensure that they include a trip to the breathtaking attraction of the Yasnaya Polyana estate.

 



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