Nikolskoe-Vyazemsky estate is an ancestral one of the Tolstoy family belonging to the writer`s paternal ancestors. It is located to the south from Yansnaya Polyana in the Chern region on the border with the Orel region, on the bank of the river Chern.
According to the folk legend, the village was called Nikolsky because of the icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker that has been found in the river. Over time the last word “Vyazemskoe” was added to this one since the times when the first owner of the village was Prince Feodor Viazemsky. Since 1747 the village had become a property of Prince Nikolay Ivanovich Gorchakov, retired senoir major and Tolstoy`s great-grandfather. When his elder daughter Pelageya got married to Count Ilya Andreevich Tolstoy, the newly-weds received the Nikolskoe-Vyazemsky state as a marriage portion from the parents.
After L.N. Tolstoy`s death in 1820 the state was taken to the Board of Trustees for debts, but in 1824 was redeemed by the writer`s father. Nikolai Ilyich put the estate in order. In 1836 he built a temple of the Assumption of the Mother of God to fulfill the vow given in the war of 1812. In 1847 there was an allotment of land between his children according to which the Nikolskoe-Vyazemsky estate and the village of Plotitsino with 317 serves and 920 dessiatinas of land were passed to the elder brother of Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, Nikolai Nikolayevich. Having graduated from the Philosophy Faculty of Kazan University Nikolai enrolled in the military service. In 1846 having received the rank of warrant officer he went to the Caucasus. In 1858 Nikolai Nikolayevich finally retired and settled in a modest log outbuilding of the Nikolskoe-Vyazemsky estate. In those times I.S. Turgenev and A.A. Fet were frequent guests.
After L.N. Tolstoy`s death in 1860 Lev Nikolayevich came into the property of the Nikolskoe estate, where he bred a kettle, Crimean and Russian fat-rumped sheep and bees. Besides the writer was engaged in planting of apple seedlings and a birch grove. Tolstoy used to hunt in the Nikolskoe-Vyazemsky estate full of games and animals. In the novel “War and Peace” passionate hunters the Rostovs who resembled the Tolstoy family so much, visited their estate in Otradnoe, in the description of which one can find much in common with Nikolsky.
After L.N. Tolstoy had renounced succession as heir, on the 7th of July in 1892 the Nikolskoe-Vyazemsky estate was passed to Sergey Lvovich who had enlisted in the navy of the Chernovsky district/ A village house with a high foundation, which became the manor house basis, was transported from a nearby Alexander farm to the estate. In his home S.L. Tolstoy had been living till the summer of 1918 when the Nikolskoe estate was burnt down and destroyed like other landed estates. Sergey Lvovich had nothing to do but to leave the place and move to Moscow.
Since that time the former Tolstoys` manor house came to the oblivion period lasting till 1983 when the Tula machine-building adopted the estate for planting. Four years later there was a festive inauguration of a reconstructed museum house. The Church of the Assumption of the Mother of God, the Tolstoy tennis court were partially restored, and a little bit later a cultural tourist`s center was created.
In 2000 the museum devoted to L.N. Tolstoy in the Nikolskoe-Vyazemsky estate was passed to the museum-estate “Yasnaya Polyana”. Today there is an exposition devoted to the history of the Tolstoy family according to the Russian history.