One of the consistent Russian tourist brands is the Russian estate. It`s not just a cultural and historical concept, it is a special phenomenon incorporating spiritual traditions.
Tula region can be rightfully proud of the multitude of estates that used to belong to outstanding scientists, artists and writers, scattered across the region like a strew of diamonds. The “Russian estates” travel route was developed by the art, national culture and tourism development center union of the Tula region. It will allow tourists to plunge into the world of the Russian estate, so amazing and so unique.
There is an idyllic place located approximately between Moscow and Tula - the northwest edge of the Tula region. The coppices, pineries and the mixed woods tpgether with the Oka river flowing by – for a long time these places have attracted people who admire silence, cosiness and subtle beauty. I've been dreaming of a lodge on the bank of the Oka river, of how we will fit it up, how we will live there, how we will arrange a living room where the museum, gallery and library will be located… Wonderful dreams that may come true one day…", -wrote the famous landscape artist V.D. Polenov. And his dreams did come true!
For over a hundred years a beautiful three-storied white house with a steep-sloped roof has been standing on a high hill above the Oka river. Today it houses an artist's memorial estate. The state memorial history, art, and nature museum of V.D. Polenov is one of the largest and famous museum complexes in Russia.Its territory includes the genuine memorial house, an art studio called “the Abbey", household buildings, Trinity Church in the village of Bekhovo constructed between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of 20th century according to V.D. Polenov's designs, V.D. Polenov's grave, as well as the farmstead park, a garden, the forests surrounding the territory of the estate, a meadow, and farmlands. Currently the territory of the memorial estate depicts a relatively unchanged region of the natural, historical, and cultural environment.
We will continue our journey to visit "Dvoryaninovo", the memorial estate of A.T. Bolotov, the founder of Russian agronomical science. Thanks to A.T. Bolotov, potato plants entered extensive agricultural use in Russia.
A.T. Bolotov with his all-rounded, inquisitive, distinguished mind and extraordinary working capacity, made a contribution into many fields of science and culture, made many discoveries and inventions. He wrote over 350 volumes of scientific and literary works, with about 4 thousand scientific works from these volumes being published.
Bolotov wrote the first Russian guidebook on medicinal plants morphology and taxonomy (1781). Along with herbal treatment Andrey Timofevich used to employ other methods of medical treatment, such as using minerals, and an electrical machine of his own design.
Bolotov spent a large period of his life managing the personal volosts (regions) of the empress Catherine the Great: at first in Kiyasovk, then in Bogoroditsk. These years took a special place in his creative life. Here he built the park named "a miracle of this country" which became famous throughout Russia. If one was to combine nature and poetry, then this park is one of the best combinations of architecture, nature and the human genius. The Russian park built by Bolotov was on par with the beauty of the gardens of Versailles, St-Germain, and Marly. “The best reward I could get for all the gigantic efforts I made was my own awareness that I did not toil in vain, but for a worthwhile cause that will prove beneficial not only to our sons and grandsons, but also to our great-grandsons and further descendants" (A.T. Bolotov).
The promotion of A.T. Bolotov's works and legacy in Dvoryaninovo, the place where his talent arose and blossomed, is extremely important for patriotic, moral and cultural education of the younger generation and public education. This museum estate houses an exhibition of the lifestyle of landed gentry – the class that Andrey Timofeevich belonged to.
The exhibition houses a permanent display of minerals and "Dolls of our great-grandmothers". Exhibitions of artists from Moscow, Tula, and other regions of Russia take place here regularly. During the excursion one can learn a lot of things about the scientist's life and activity. The entrance to the main house is not immediately visible from the estate entrance – it is engulfed in verdant green. The building is located on the high and steep hill, as if soaring above the valley of the river Skniga. You can enjoy a reveal breathtaking landscapes view. The owner of the estate used to call this hill “mount Avenizer” - "the mountain of help". In its interior he dug up minerals to treat urolithic disease with.
There is a famous 500 years old arching oak located In Dvoryaninovo. Back when A.T. Bolotov was still alive, the ancient tree was struck by lightning. A part of the oak fell to the ground, and another part fell onto the elm standing next to it. Guests of the estate used to gather under the arch and wish for longevity. Today this place is known as "The wishing arch”.
And finally all visitors of the museum are treated to a uniquely beneficial and fabulously tasty tea "of longevity and health" brewed according to Bolotov's recipe.
The first day of the tour will conclude with a visit to the only city estate of the Tula writer V.V. Veresayev.
“The wooden house with six windows overlooking the street, two boxy porches sticking out … Back in my time … the garden stretched off into the distance … For us, this garden was a huge, diverse world, the brightest and most poetic memories of my childhood are linked to it... the house belonged to my father; in this house I was born, it is here that I lived when I was coming to Tula as an adult”,wrote the writer V.V. Veresayev in his memoirs.
V.V. Veresayev's house museum is the only museum of the writer in Russia. The exposition shown in the museum is devoted to life and works of the writer from 1867 to 1945. In the heart of an exposition are personal belongings of V.V. Veresayev, his works, photographs and portraits, unique books with autographs donated according to the writer's will to the Tula museum of local lore. Literary and musical evening public functions and meetings with modern Tula writers are carried out at the museum. The museum continues to live and create, always hospitably opening the doors for those who want to touch the culture and history of the Tula region. The first day of the tour will conclude with the "Ball in the Russian Estate" interactive program in the Tula Hall of Nobility.
The second day will begin with a visit to the worldwide famous estate of L.N. Tolstoy «Yasnaya Polyana». Here on August 28, 1828 the genius of the Russian literature was born; here he spent about fifty years of the life. Also here, in a forest called the Old Order on the edge of a ravine, in the shadow of trees, his grave is located. Impressions of the
Yasnaya Polyana estate life and local nature gave the richest material for the writer's creative thought and were reflected in his works in a multitude of ways. L.N. Tolstoy's memorial estate Yasnaya Polyana was founded in 1921. It includes the house museum, the literary museum, Volkonsky's house, L.N. Tolstoy's grave and about 400 hectares of natural reserve (antique lime tree park, ponds, meadows, arable lands, and gardens). Tens of memorial objects, richest collections of invaluable relics related to all aspects of the writer's life are found in Yasnaya Polyana.
The most precious memorial for all of us is L.N. Tolstoy's memorial house. Its appearance, the arrangement of rooms, the furniture– everything remains as it was during the last year of the writer's life. During the visit to Yasnaya Polyana one can stroll down birch and lime tree alleys that look magnificent during every season, walk down the tracks where L.N. Tolstoy used to walk and contemplate his brilliant works, sit on his favourite birch bench, revel in silence and the unique beauty of the surrounding nature, and, above all, one can discover a feeling of sincere freedom and realize that a genius used to live and create here.
The next thing we will visit is the Bogoroditsky (Our Lady's) palace museum and park – the estate of Catherine the Great's illegitimate son, A.G. Bobrinsky. The Bogoroditsky palace is the Russia's first example of classical style in architecture. Constructed upon the project of the famous St. Petersburg architect I.E. Starov, the palace became not only the center of the estate, but also the center of city. Five central city streets spread imperceivably away from it. The radially – beam structure of Bogoroditsk was planned by a polymath named A.T. Bolotov. From the palace's observation deck one can see the streets fan out. The Bogoroditsky palace-museum and park is an estate-type museum that includes heritage-listed buildings and memorable garden art. A long time ago travelers and visitors to the Tula region used to call this place “noteworthy”. The hallmark of graceful taste, impressions of luxurious finery and splendor of interiors, will remain inside these walls for a long time. In the XVIII century the "magnificent home of count Bobrinsky" located on a mesa, and, moreover, "an extensive garden" adjoining the estate, were considered "miracle of this country". Nowadays, as well as in old times, the Bogoroditsky palace continue to please the eye of travelers and guests of the estate. Being here, one understands that true values are eternal and unalterably good among the rustle of falling leaves, as well as among the noise of spring foliage, summertime variety of colors, and severe Russian winters … As part of the interactive program "Guests Gathered in the Estate" tourists learn about the very real mysteries and secrets of the court!
And finally we offer our tourists to visit the estate of the merchant Baybakov in one of the oldest settlements of the Tula region, the former district town of Yepifan. On its threshold guests will be welcomed by the merchant's wife - the hostess of the house - and invited to the drawing room. In the house's cosy interior one can get acquainted with the lifestyle and daily life of petty bourgeoise of the beginning of the 20th century, learn about the major activities and hobbies of family members, and see the interiors of living rooms and the owner's office.
A garden, a kitchen garden,a bath house and a utility section were an integral part of any estate. Every guest will be able to walk through the garden and get more closely acquainted with the merchant's household, and the most curious of guests will, of course, take a peek into the cellar where stocks are stored. In the general store guests may pose as merchants who came to a fair, bargain for different goods, and purchase useful trinkets and souvenirs. After the conclusion of a successful commercial transaction owners will join the guests at the table where they may sample some fragrant tea with Kulikovsky honey or flavorous Yepifan jam.
The "Russian estates" route is not just a flow of tourists moving across a certain territory, it is a special world, that can immerse one into an atmosphere of tranquility, make modern problems grow dim and fade away into the past, and the past, on the contrary, become interesting and exciting. The estate world is special, it consists of details that are so difficult to collect, yet so easy to destroy.