“Without my Yasnaya Polyana I hardly can imagine Russia and my attitude towards it”
Yasnaya Polyana - a family manor of the Leo Tolstoy’s family. The famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy was born here, grew up and was buried in. In early spring we decided to visit the famous estate, about which we heard in school. As it turned out, early spring is not the best time to visit Yasnaya Polyana, especially if you are traveling with children. All walkways are in the mud, baby stroller is not roll well, and if you put a child in a “sling” or backpack, you have risk falling into the big puddle with him, because here is not only dirty but also slippery. The place is incredibly beautiful and interesting, but for a trip to Tolstoy manor at Yasnaya Polyana is better to choose a different time of the year: a dry summer, early fall, and even winter will be much more comfortable and convenient.
How to get to Yasnaya Polyana, ticket pricing, parking
Museum-Estate “Yasnaya Polyana” is located in the Tula region, just 200 kilometers from Moscow and 15 from Tula. If you want to get to the manor by car, on the highway M2 “Crimea” you have to drive to Tula city, and then move on the Moscow highway, rolling in October Street across town. Along the way there are pointers, so you do not get lost. If you are traveling by public transport, you can reach it by bus or minibus to Tula (from the subway stations “Tsaritsyno”, “Domodedovo”, “Prazhskaya” or “Ulitsa Akademika Yangelya”). In the Tula city you should get off at “Ulitsa Mosina” and then here change bus to one of №114, 117, 280 and get off at the bus stop “Yasnaya Polyana” or “Shkola”, from here to the entrance to homestead is only about 10 minutes by walk.
If you don’t want to spend time in traffic jams when leaving the capital, Tula also can be reached by trains of Kursk railway direction and then from Tula’s main railway station you should take trolleybus №5 and get off at bus stop “Pedinstitut”, then use one of buses №114, 117, 280 to reach bus stop “Yasnaya Polyana” or “Shkola”. Earlier it was possible to visit Yasnaya Polyana with same name retro-train, but according to the information from homestead’s official website, now its movement has been suspended.
In front of the entrance to the homestead is a huge free parking, but to park your car in the weekends is not easy - a lot of visitors.
Entrance to the manor for adult visitor without an excursion costs 50 rubles. You can purchase ticket at the counter or in ticket vending machine near the entrance. We bought electronic tickets - there was no queue, but have not found anyone to show these tickets for checking. 🙂 This happened probably because our visit to Yasna Polyana was in March, at low tourist season.
Walk the manor of Leo Tolstoy in Tula - Yasna Polyana
Homestead Yasnaya Polyana has been shaped during the time of Leo Tolstoy's grandfather, Prince Nikolai Sergeyevich Volkonskiy (he served as a prototype of the old Prince Bolkonsky from the novel “War and Peace”). In times of Volkonsky was created the Lower English Park, which is located to the right of the central alley leading to houses. Here are two of the three small ponds (lower and middle) that are not often mentioned in the novel. In the photo below you can see the lower pond, but it is not easy to approach it in the early spring, much better to admire it from afar. Middle pond we forgot to shoot, which was set up as swimming pool.
To the left of the main avenue is a large pond on the banks of which preserved bath house.
The main avenue, which we have already mentioned, is called “Preshpekt”. It stretches from the main gate to the house of the writer.
We were pleasantly surprised that whole homestead is equipped with perfect navigation, and not only in Russian language. Perhaps we never saw such care for foreign tourists in Russia before visiting this place.
Passing the fruit trees we are going to the oldest building of Yasnaya Polyana - Volkonskiy's house.
It is considered that writer's grandfather Volkonskyi lived a while in this house and nearby were various workshops of carpets, fabric and tanning skin. Old building was inhabited by workers, there was a laundry room and a "black kitchen", and later it housed a workshop of writer's daughter, Tatyana Tolstoy.
Opposite the manor house of Volkonsky you can see the stables and coach house, which have been preserved from the time of Tolstoy. They are now used for other purposes - contains a horses, on which can ride tourists.
Slightly away from the stables you can see house of the coachman, where you can visit an interactive excursion with a cup of tea from a samovar, tasting cakes and liqueurs. To order a tour, visit the manor's official website.
In addition to the stables and coach house at Yasnaya Polyana preserved and other outbuildings. Once farmers harvested grain, it was transported to "Riga" and this placement has no relation to the capital of Latvia. 🙂 Riga means the utility room, where the harvested grain is dried and then separated from the straw. After that, the grain is moved to "zhitnya", and here it is sieved, weighed, and then sending to the mill. Both of these buildings can be seen on the homestead. Are they from the times of Leo Tolstoy or have been restored we never found out, but look very old.
Next, passing outbuildings, we go into the forest “Stariy Zakaz”, to the grave of writer Leo Tolstoy. Path leading to it is very picturesque and passes through oak forest “Arkovsky verh” and “Abramovskoy posadki”. We must say that there are abound of beautiful places in Yasnaya Polyana, and if you like to walk in the fresh air, then this is a great place, but the main thing is to choose the right weather.
Leo Tolstoy died 7 (20) of November 1910. Three days later he was buried on the edge of the ravine in the forest in the manor of Yasnaya Polyana according to his request. As a child, he and his brother was looking a “green shelf” that could make all the people on Earth happy. The territory near the grave of the writer now is declared as zone of silence.
And now we return to see a writer's house.
But on the way to Tolstoy's manor house it is worth paying attention to the small house - outbuilding Kuzminskiy. The building received its name in honor of the younger sister of Tolstoy's wife - Tatyana Kuzminskaya, who often stayed here with her family. From 1859 to 1862 in this outbuilding a school for peasant children was housed. Nowadays, there is a literary museum, which regularly hosts a variety of exhibitions devoted to Leo Tolstoy.
From the Kuzminsky lodge, passing basement of the old manor house, we are moving to the Tolstoy's house. Main House, the birthplace of Tolstoy, was not preserved, and only very attentive tourists can see the remnants of its basement in the grass. On the way to the house of the writer you can see a small wooden house painted in blue. It was built in 1888 and called “The Pavilion”, where in the summer months stayed many guests of Yasnaya Polyana. Here also been Repin and Ge.
House of Leo Tolstoy is a former right outbuilding. Writer moved here in 1856 after the end of military service, and here was born 11 of his 13 children. Of course, a such small outbuilding very soon became not enough to live with a large family and in 1871 it began to restructuring. Until 1894 the house continued with reconstructions and improvements. Writer lived in this house for over 50 years, and all the things that can be seen here, actually belonged to Tolstoy and his family, and interior is still the same as in 1910. Also we can see the “White kitchen” and the glacier nearby. From April 1 to October 31, you can get into the house only as part of tour groups.
After walking around the manor “Yasnaya Polyana” we decided to visit one more Leo Tolstoy's related place, as it is located very close to the museum-estate. Station “Kozlov abates” - closest to Yasnaya Polyana railway station. Writer came here to pick up the mail and from here went to the last journey in his life. Today in museum-station “Kozlova Zaseka” you can join the tour “Leo Tolstoy’s Railroad”. During our visit the museum was closed and we did not get inside, so just walked around the grounds. Now this station got back its historic appearance, how it looked in the days of Tolstoy.
If you don’t have plans to attend the exhibition, then probably it is not worth spending the time to visit “Kozlova Zaseka”. In our opinion, nothing unusual you will not see here. Maybe to rate this place, you need to come here with a good tour guide who tells in detail about the history of this station and its role in the life of Tolstoy.
“Yasnaya Polyana” is a great place for long walks in the fresh air, but to enjoy the walking, you need to choose right season and weather. On this visit we got not too much luck with weather, but maybe you'll be more lucky and enjoy Yasnaya Polyana so strong that you decide to stay here overnight. Especially for such tourists there is a hotel named “Yasnaya Polyana”. You can look at the pictures of rooms and book your stay in this hotel on booking.com.
Original article can be found on our primary Russian site here.
Have a nice trip!