The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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International Project Weimar - Yasnaya Polyana – Stratford. National Cultural Heritage as a Factor of Sustainable Regional Development


Culture Department of the City of Weimar (Germany)

Stratford-upon-Avon District Council (Great Britain)

Heritage of Leo Tolstoy International Foundation (Russia)        

Duration: 2 years (March 2006 – February 2008)

The international TACIS project Yasnaya Polyana – WeimarStratford. National Cultural Heritage as a Factor of Sustainable Regional Development was launched in 2006; it won an EU grant of 200,000 EUR.

The 2-year project was implemented by the Heritage of Leo Tolstoy International Foundation (in cooperation with the Leo Tolstoy Museum-estate Yasnaya Polyana), the Culture Department of the City of Weimar (consulted by the Weimar Classic Foundation) and the Stratford-upon-Avon District Council (consulted by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust).

Weimar, Yasnaya Polyana and Stratford-upon-Avon are central places of their respective national cultural heritages, especially in the field of literature. Furthermore, Goethe, Tolstoy and Shakespeare are recognized as major figures of European culture. In autumn 2004, Vladimir I. Tolstoy, the President of the Heritage of Leo Tolstoy International Foundation met with representatives from Stratford-upon-Avon and Weimar to discuss potential further co-operation. In these discussions, all the partners saw a number of corresponding topics and strategic approaches. Long-term cooperation was agreed upon with the Weimar Classic Foundation, which is the main cultural institution of the town of Weimar. In addition to tourism, special emphasis was laid on education and training.  

The overall objective of the project was to develop a model of sustainable regional development on the basis of the national Russian cultural heritage in and around Yasnaya Polyana. With its concrete outputs and its long-term results, this model shall serve as an example for other regions and organizations in Russia as well.

The project aimed to transfer the experience of the national cultural heritage places in Weimar and Stratford-upon-Avon to Russia, especially in the fields of marketing, education and tourism. Among other tasks of the project were:

  • promotion of communication processes in the region around Yasnaya Polyana and involvement of regional partners in the cooperation;
  • establishment of the International Training Centre Cultural Heritage and Sustainability at Yasnaya Polyana for holding national and international conferences and seminars;
  • development and exemplary realisation of educational programmes on the subject of “Actual use and further development of cultural heritage”;
  • development of a joint tourist marketing campaign of national cultural heritage sites Yasnaya Polyana - Weimar - Stratford-upon-Avon.

Through meetings, seminars and conferences as well as through special exchange programs, the representatives of Yasnaya Polyana extended their international network of contacts. The triangle Yasnaya Polyana – WeimarStratford finally became a nucleus for a Europe-wide network of seven places of national cultural heritage – the project Garden of Geniuses.

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