Yasnaya Polyana is a unique Russian manor and the family estate of the great Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy. Here he was born, lived most of his life, and was interred. It was his favorite house, the nest of his family and his kin. Every year this famous museum receives a great number of visitors from all around the world. The first mentions of Yasnaya Polyana date from 1652. From the middle of the 18th century, the manor belonged to the writer's maternal ancestors, the Volkonsky princes. In the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, a unique manor landscape was created here, including parks, gardens, ponds, an abundant orangery, and an architectural ensemble consisting of the large manor-house and two wings.
Since 1910, the last year of Tolstoy's life, this landscape, along with the architectural ensemble, has existed in an unmodified state. Over time, one of the wings of the manor became home to the writer and his family. Here the writer spent over 50 years and created his literary masterpieces. The interior design and art are authentic and preserve the atmosphere of the lives of Tolstoy and his relatives. The collections of the museum count over 50,000 items, the most unique of which are Tolstoy's the household items, as well as the writer's library, that has been entered into the UNESCO Register Memory of the.
The writer's body remained in Yasnaya Polyana after his death. His grave is located in the Stary Zakaz forest on the edge of a ravine. Tolstoy himself specified the place of his burial. The location signified the burial spot of a green stick -- according to the story, his brother Nikolai had led Tolstoy to believe he had recorded the secret to universal happiness on the stick and buried it on the edge of the ravine on the estate.
Fate has been favorable to the Tolstoy family nest throughout the 20th century. The manor did not suffer any damage during the Civil war: in respect of the memory of Lev Tolstoy, the peasants of Yasnaya Polyana saved the place from pogroms. Eleven years after the writer's death, in 1921, thanks to the efforts of his youngest daughter Alexandra Lvovna, a museum was inaugurated in Yasnaya Polyana. Tolstoy's ancestors has continued to take an active part in the life of the museum ever since. In 1941, when Yasnaya Polyana was threatened by Nazi occupation, the granddaughter of the writer, Sofya Andreevna Tolstaya-Esenina, then the manager of the museum, organized the evacuation of most of the exhibits to Tomsk.
Today, Yasnaya Polyana is a large museum and world-renowned cultural center, Apart from the Tolstoy museum itself, it has an entire network of subsidiaries. But the centerpiece is forever the manor, still the same as it was known and loved by Tolstoy. Many of the activities on the estate today are the same as they were in Tolstoy's time: apples are collected, beehives produce honey, and graceful horses please the eye… The Yasnaya Polyana manor preserves the authentic as well as the very spirit of Tolstoy's era.