The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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Growth and development of the estate
The Yasnaya Polyana estate is located in the very center of Middle Russia, with its quiet but strikingly moving nature, and is likewise modest, but beautiful and noble in its simplicity.
The great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy was born and lived most of his life at Yasnaya Polyana.  It is here that the world began for him, and it is here that the world of his literary works and characters came into being. For Tolstoy, Yasnaya Polyana was the only home he really loved, the ancestral seat of his family. But the history of the Yasnaya Polyana estate goes back to the more distant past.
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The Tolstoys at Yasnaya Polyana. Leo Tolstoy’s life and activities at the estate

Башни въезда

After their wedding the Tolstoys settled at Yasnaya Polyana. Nikolai Tolstoy finished the construction of the large house into which the family moved in 1824, and also increased his landed property. He managed to redeem his ancestral estate of Nikolskoye-Vyazemskoye, bought the rich estate of Pirogovo, and secured the future of his children.

His wife Maria seems to have lived as though in a different world, being more concerned with spiritual life. As a very religious woman, she must have thought her family was a gift of God for her: she was 31 years old when she married, and she was happy to fully devote her life to her husband and children. Five children were born into the Tolstoy family: 4 sons – Nikolai, Sergey, Dmitry and Leo, and the daughter Maria.

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Yasnaya Polyana after Leo Tolstoy’s death. Foundation and development of the museum
С.А.ТолстаяAfter Tolstoy's death and till 1919 his widow Sophia looked after the estate. In 1911 she twice wrote to Nicolas II suggesting that the National Government should buy Yasnaya Polyana and preserve it, but she was refused. She was given a pension, and it was partly used to fund the running of the estate. Sophia did a great deal to preserve Yasnaya Polyana, ensuring that her husband's study and bedroom remained untouched, and that the furnishings, objects, and photographs throughout the house were inventoried. She participated in the initial cataloguing of Tolstoy's personal library, systematized the letters that were kept at the estate, and lent her help to scholars working on biographies of the writer. Tolstoy's children Sergey (author of the first guidebook to Yasnaya Polyana) and Alexandra also did a lot for the estate.
Fate has always been kind to Yasnaya Polyana. It was not ruined during the Civil War, when country estates were burning all over Russia. In memory of Leo Tolstoy and out of respect for him the local peasants saved Yasnaya Polyana from destruction. On May 27, 1919 Tolstoy's daughter Alexandra Tolstaya received a deed from the government to Yasnaya Polyana which certified that the estate and all the belongings in Tolstoy's house have "a unique cultural and historical value and, as a national property, are to be under state guardianship." As early as in 1921, through Alexandra's efforts, Yasnaya Polyana was declared a museum.
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The museum at present
Bashni_032A new stage in the museum’s history began in the 1994, when the directorship was taken over by Leo Tolstoy’s great-great-grandson, Vladimir Tolstoy. This marked the return of the Tolstoys to Yasnaya Polyana, and a renewed emphasis on the traditions of old Russian country estates. Since 2000, every two years the Tolstoy Family Reunions take place at Yasnaya Polyana, and Tolstoy’s descendants from many countries of the world meet here.
 
Today, as before, while devoting attention to the museum’s traditional activities, Yasnaya Polyana is also developing in new directions. For example, it is creating alternative types of tourist programs, such as cultural tourism based in Yasnaya Polyana as well as beyond its borders; realizing its potential in the area of education; giving new life to folk traditions and crafts; broadening its advertising and publishing activities; introducing new technology; and undertaking joint efforts with foreign countries.
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