Writers of the Golden Age of Russian prose were, as a rule, born and brought up in their family estates. Leo Tolstoy, who reached pan-European popularity as a novelist and philosopher, was not an exception: a count himself, he was an heir of the noble Volkonsky family. His grandfather from his mother's side, Prince Nikolay Volkonsky, once bought an estate near Tula, about 200 km from Moscow; this large estate later became the home of the Tolstoys, most famously among them, Leo. The Yasnaya Polyana estate was maintained until the 1917 revolution. But its value for our generation is not limited to a model prosperity; what is perhaps most impressive and intriguing is how Tolstoy implied his philosophical views here from the position of landlord. Moreover, several rooms can be described as real sanctuaries of literature, the very places where Tolstoy wrote most of his novels. (“Yasnaya Polyana” The Moscow News, № 36, 2007).

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Various photos of Russian students exploring Yasnaya Polyana, Leo Tolstoy's family estate.