Yasnaya Polyana is the ancestral estate of the Counts Tolstoys, located a half-hour drive southwest of Tula. In its present borders it was founded by the maternal grandfather of Leo Tolstoy. Thanks to the selfless work of the writer’s wife and children, the architectural ensemble and the garden and park areas have survived intact. Today, Yasnaya Polyana is a popular tourist attraction that includes a museum, a cultural center, and a hotel complex, which is visited by over ten thousand people from Russia and foreign countries every month.
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Video: Yasnaya Polyana
History of the Yasnaya Polyana estate
Yasnaya Polyana village was first mentioned in written sources in 1652, and soon a lord’s house was built in its vicinity. The Volkonsky family bought the land in 1763, and the son of the first owner, Nikolai Sergeyevich, grandfather of Leo Tolstoy, started to develop the territory. He built the manor with wings, a greenhouse, and developed parks. The only part of the old buildings is the Volkonsky House, which is now used in Yasnaya Polyana as a library and an administrative building.
Leo Tolstoy Museum Estate Yasnaya Polyana
Leo Tolstoy in Yasnaya Polyana
Maria Volkonskaya, who inherited the rich estate from her father, married Count Nikolai Tolstoy. It was at the estate that the future writer, the fourth son in the family, was born in 1828. Two years later, Maria Tolstoy died, at the age of 9, Lev lost his father as well. Together with his aunt, who cared for him, he moved to Kazan, and he returned to accept the inheritance only in 1847. The first attempts to reform the estate failed, and the disappointed count enlisted in the military service. He moved to the estate in the late fifties and lived there with occasional interruptions until his death. Leo Tolstoy planted several apple and pear orchards and forests that protected Yasnaya Polyana from the approaching ravines. At the edge of one of such forests, the Old Castle, he was buried in a simple, green hill-like grave without a monument and a cross.
The Tolstoy family in Yasnaya Polyana Leo Tolstoy with his favorite horse Delir The grave of Leo Tolstoy
History of the Museum
After Leo Tolstoy’s death, the estate was managed by his widow, Sophia Andreevna, and his sons. The peasants who saved the estate from destruction during the Civil War, in 1921, Alexandra Leo Tolstoy, the writer’s youngest daughter, succeeded in nationalizing Yasnaya Polyana and turning it into a museum, and became its first director. She soon emigrated, but Tolstoy’s descendants did not abandon the estate. In 1994, Vladimir Tolstoy became the director, turning Yasnaya Polyana into an international cultural center, where every two years all the family members from Russia and foreign countries gather.
Yasnaya Polyana Museum Complex
The reserve consists of a homestead ensemble, a garden and park area, and a forestry. The buildings and a large part of the museum’s exposition have been preserved since Tolstoy’s times. These are photographs, first editions of the writer’s works, antique furniture, which belonged to his father, his own boots and cap of Lev Nikolaevich. Miniature outhouse of the Kuzminskys, named after his younger sister Sophia Andreevna, in Tolstoy’s time was given to a school for village children. Now it exhibits objects of art. Because of the difficult relations with the Orthodox Church, Leo Tolstoy could not be buried in the family vault at St. Nicholas Church. In Kochakovsky necropolis his parents, brother, wife, children who died at an early age are buried.
Entrance to the museum-reserve Main manor house Pointer to the border of the museum-reserve
Green zones of the reserve
The fruit and forest plantations of Yasnaya Polyana were reconstructed for natural reasons: new trees were planted instead of the old ones, preserving the same species composition. In the Lower English Park the cascade of three ponds and the tower arbor, where the writer’s mother used to spend her time, were restored.
Birch bridge White kitchen Alley in the museum Flowers near the writer’s house
A branch of “Yasnaya Polyana” in Krapivna
Half an hour west of the museum complex, in Krapivna, there is a branch of the Yasnaya Polyana Reserve. Household items, arts and crafts are exhibited in the cozy Saburovs’ mansion. In early June, a folklore festival is held in Krapivna.
Festivals in Yasnaya Polyana
In July 2016, Yasnaya Polyana hosted the last of the planned seven international festivals “Garden of Geniuses”, dedicated to the works of prominent European writers – Hugo, Joyce, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Tolstoy, Goethe, Dante. Starting in 2017, the reserve’s festival life will shift to a new format, with details of the project to be known in the summer.
The annual Nettle Festival in Krapivna attracts fans of folk and jazz music. Participants attend master classes of artisans, taste dishes made of nettles, and hold rousing fights with stinging brooms instead of weapons.
Festival of youth folklore ensembles in Yasnaya Polyana Tolstoy WEEKEND Theatre festival
The preserve “Yasnaya Polyana” is open in high season (April through October) from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., in November through March until 6 p.m.; however, the entrance to the estate is limited for one hour before closing time. The buildings are available from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and in high season for an hour longer only for organized guided tours. Free tourists gather in groups of up to 15 people, buying tickets at the ticket office. The cost of visiting ranges from 130 to 250 rubles depending on the program, you can just walk around the park for 50 rubles. The ticket to the Krapivena branch costs 50-100 rubles.
Where to stay
The standard tour package allows you to visit the exposition during one day, but those who want to stay at the estate for a longer period can stay at the Yasnaya Polyana hotel, which is 15 minutes walk from the main gate. Two buildings – the old 5-storey and the new 2-storey – are designed for simultaneous stay of 53 persons. The hotel has a restaurant “Noble Estate”, which cooks dishes on the recipes of Tolstoy’s wife, in the main building – the cafe. You can also grab a bite to eat in the cafe “Prešpekt” next to the entrance towers. The guests of the Noblemen’s Estate are offered not only guided tours along Tolstoy’s places, but also horseback riding tours and Russian language courses.
Menu of the “Prešpekt” cafe
Shopping in Yasnaya Polyana
Near the entrance towers is a souvenir shop, which presents products of Tula crafts made from birch bark, leather, clay, and luxuriously published books of Tolstoy and about Tolstoy. A branch of the shop is also open in the hotel. In Krapivna, the traditional set of Tula souvenirs is complemented by healing insoles and elbow pads made of nettle fibers, which cure arthritis and rheumatism.
Souvenirs from Yasnaya Polyana
How to get there
Tourists arrive in Tula from Moscow by train or bus, then change to local bus lines 114, 117, and 280 that drop passengers 10 minutes from the towers of the entrance to Yasnaya Polyana. The firm train from Tula temporarily does not run due to financial difficulties. Buses go to Krapivna from Tula from the bus station.
Museum-reserve Yasnaya Polyana.
November 1 – April 30: from 09:00 to 17:00. May 1 – October 31 from 09:00 to 20:00. Monday is free. Excursions: weekdays 9:30 – 15:30, on weekends 10:00 – 16:30.
Entrance without excursions – 100 rubles, for students and pensioners – 50 rubles, visitors under 16 years old – free of charge.
Clean-up day at the Tolstoy House – last Tuesday of the month, at the Kuzminski outbuilding – last Wednesday of the month.
The estate “Yasnaya Polyana”, which belonged to the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, is located in the Tula region, near the town of Shchekino. Today it is a museum-reserve, receiving tourists from all over the world.
The writer repeatedly admitted that this place helped him a lot in his work. The museum has preserved the original setting of the house and the nature around it in its original form, the same one that helped Lev Nikolayevich to create masterpieces of Russian literature.
Prices at the Yasnaya Polyana Museum Reserve in 2022
Entrance to the estate is possible without a guide:
- 100 rubles for adults;
- 50 rubles for students and retired people;
- Children under 16 are free of charge.
Prices for the tour depend on the parts of the museum you want to visit and on the category of the visitor. Schoolchildren, students and pensioners are privileged guests.
group of 15 people, rubles.
groups of up to 15 people, rubles per group
groups of 15 people, rubles for all categories
groups of up to 15 people, rubles per group
Manor House, House, outbuilding
Manor House and outbuilding.
Only on the last Tuesday of the month
For tour in a foreign language needs 1500 rubles extra. Find a free day and buy tickets in advance on the official site of “Yasnaya Polyana” museum.
First mention of “Yasnaya Polyana” is mentioned in the documents of 1652. At that time it was a small settlement. The Tolstoy family owned the settlement in 1763, when it was bought by Grandfather of Leo Tolstoy Prince Sergei Fedorovich Volkonsky. Later it was inherited by his son Nikolai Sergeyevich, who gave this place a large estate.
The Tolstoy family lived here with five children, including the youngest – Lev. He lost his parents early and the division of the estate took place in 1847. “Yasnaya Polyana” passed to Lev Nikolayevich, who was 19 years old at that time, but he began to live there only in the late 1850s.
The writer married Sophia Andreevna Bers in 1862, and from a woman’s hand the estate began to transform. The wife created home comfort and beautiful flower gardens around the house, and Lev Nikolayevich was engaged in the gardens and forests around. The latter occupy an area of more than 250 hectares.
Lev Nikolayevich left Yasnaya Polyana in October 1910 and died in November. After his death, the estate was left to his wife Sophia Andreevna. Tolstaya tried to preserve the inviolability of her husband’s belongings and home furnishings, many items were signed by her. She assisted researchers working on the biography of Leo Nikolayevich.
In 1919 the mansion was taken under the protection of the People’s Commissariat, and in 1921 it was nationalized and declared a museum, all the things of which have “an exceptional cultural and historical value and are the national property, are under the protection of the state”. By the decision of VTsIK a cultural and educational center began to be created in the estate.
In 1941 there was a threat of occupation and the things from the house had to be evacuated. And not for nothing. “Yasnaya Polyana” was under occupation for 47 days, and during the retreat was set on fire. The fire was put out, but the house was badly damaged, but was restored in 1942. Immediately after the end of the war, the historical treasures were returned to the estate.
After Yasnaya Polyana was separated from the rest of Tolstoy’s museums, serious restoration of the estate began. In the 50s, all the buildings of the estate were reconstructed according to the photos and stories of the residents. The employees made passports with the exact description and location of each building and it helped to preserve the original appearance of the house of Leo Tolstoy.
In 1994, the writer’s great-grandson Vladimir Tolstoy becomes the director. Since then, the Tolstoy family began to come here from all over the world every 2 years. New educational programs, exhibitions and excursions began to be realized. The place began to be visited by foreigners, including writers and other figures of world art.
In 2012 Vladimir Tolstoy was appointed advisor to the president on culture and art, and Ekaterina Tolstaya was appointed director of the estate.
The house-museum has preserved the familiar surroundings of the great writer. In the office of Lev Nikolaevich there is a table, on which he finished more than one work. Even his books are partially preserved, but it is strictly forbidden to touch them.
One of the buildings is the house of Prince Volkonsky, the writer’s grandfather. It is thanks to him that the estate acquired its appearance. Lev Nikolaevich greatly appreciated the taste of his grandfather.
One of the two outhouses, which housed a school for village children, opened by Lev Nikolayevich, has been preserved. Later it played the role of a living room, and today exhibitions are organized here.
The estate also has a stable, consisting of 30 heads of thoroughbred horses. The Yasnaya Polyana Sports Club is open here. Visitors take horseback rides and carriage rides, and in winter time – on a sleigh.
The site has a birch alley planted in 1965. Earlier it was spruce, but this is the work of Sophia Andreevna, Tolstoy preferred the birches. On the left side of the “Prešpekta” there is a big pond with a bathhouse and on the right side there are three small ponds with a bathhouse.
Lev Nikolayevich is buried not far from the estate, in the forest. The tourists are suggested to visit his grave. However you won’t see a big monument here, the writer asked to be buried very modestly. It’s just a small hill without flowers and a cross.
Visitors to the Yasnaya Polyana museum today have access to various excursion programs:
- Traditional, themed and interactive programs to visit the estate, as well as the rest of the museum’s branches.
- Multiday programs – from one to three days. Includes meals and accommodation.
- Individual excursions.
- Excursions for foreigners: in English, French or German.
- “The Feast of the Trinity in Yasnaya Polyana”. Lev Nikolayevich and his family especially honored this holiday. A separate program at the museum is dedicated to it, which includes a tour, a ceremonial part, thematic master classes, meals, as well as several classes to choose from.
- Organization of holidays, banquets, wedding ceremonies and other significant events.
- Creative classes, art workshops, children’s programs and much more.
You can get more detailed information on the official site of the “Yasnaya Polyana” estate or by phone +7 (4872) 39-35-99.
Opening hours of the Yasnaya Polyana museum in 2022
The opening hours and allowed time on the museum grounds depend on the month and the building visited. You can enter the grounds with a ticket from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from November 1 to April 30 and from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. from May 1 to October 31. After the end of ticket sales another hour is allowed on the grounds. Visits to the memorial buildings are only possible from 09:30 to 15:30.
Tours are from 09:00 to 15:30 from Tuesday to Friday in October, and from 10:00 to 16:30 on weekends and holidays.
Panorama at the Leo Tolstoy Yasnaya Polyana Estate – Google Maps
Access to certain parts of the estate is closed on the following days:
- Monday, the entire grounds;
- Last Tuesday of each month, the writer’s house;
- last Wednesday of each month, the outhouse.
Please note that tour times available on weekends and holidays may change due to high demand.
How to get to the Yasnaya Polyana Museum-Reserve
To get to “Yasnaya Polyana” by car from the center of Tula you need to drive about 15 km. From Lenin Avenue route is straight. Go to the end of the street and take Shchekinskoye highway, which then turns into Orlovskoye. In Lesnoe village will be a sign to turn to the estate. The car will be parked at the “Prešpekta”.
Route from the Tula Kremlin to the Yasnaya Polyana estate – Google Maps
Public transportation can also take you to the museum-reserve. Buses #114, 117, 180, 286 and 290, as well as minibuses #114k, 117k and 280 run from Lenin Avenue to the Shkolnaya stop, which is 1 km from the site. For a quick trip you can call a cab, all popular services in Tula. For example, a trip by Yandex.Taxi from Tula Kremlin will cost about 300 rubles and will last about 30 minutes.