TOLSTOY'S ESTATE-MUSEUM - Yasnaya Polyana
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, known as a student of life and human nature, a literary great and a seeker of truth, a prophet for his insights about "the way the world works", a human rights activist who assisted the Doukhobors, or Spirit Wrestlers, during their time of need, and a proponent of reason and conscience, still lives among us through his writing. His thoughts and spirit challenge us today, a century later, as few other writers, thinkers or theologians have ever done.
He played a key role in making possible the Doukhobor migration to Canada in 1899 through the donation of the proceeds of his novel "Resurrection". At that time the Doukhobors were being persecuted by the Czarist government and Orthodox church for their spiritual understanding and adoption of pacifism. Tolstoy brought international attention to their plight resulting in them being given permission to leave Russia in 1899.
The Estate-Museum of Tolstoy, more commonly known as Yasnaya Polyana, or "beautiful meadow", is a popular visitor destination for people from Russia and around the world -- an estimated 250,000 people per year visit the site. It is located 200 km south of Moscow and 25 km south of the Oblast' Center of Tula at the Village of "Yasnaya Polyana".
At the center of Yasnaya Polyana's 430 hectares of forest and farmland stands the white clapboard house where Tolstoy wrote his major novels. In the woods a half-kilometer from the house, Tolstoy is buried in a mound left unmarked, according to his wishes.
Visitors pay tribute to Tolstoy by visiting his gravesite, touring Yasnaya Polyana where they can see buildings of the 18th and 19th century, and by walking through the beautiful parks of linden and birch trees. Buildings include: the house of Lev Tolstoy, Kuzminsky House -- a former school for peasant children, Volkonsky House -- named after Tolstoy's grandfather who lived there and the Stable/Coachouse.
Currently there are only minimal services offered the visitors, tourists and to the adjoining community of approximately 1500 people at Yasnaya Polyana
THE CENTENNIAL PROJECT
Canadian Doukhobors, along with friends and others who share the Tolstoyan philosophy, in partnership with Yasnaya Polyana, are proposing the revitalization of a Bakery Café. Canadian Doukhobors have initiated this Project out of gratitude to Tolstoy as part of their Centennial. Given the fact that Yasnaya Polyana is in a time of need due to the socio-economic difficulties currently being experienced in Russia, this project assumes greater significance
Revitalization involves the renovation of a facility that will house the Bakery Café, meeting rooms, a souvenir shop and other visitor amenities.
The goal of the Friends of Tolstoy is to equip and make operable a world class Bakery Café that will contribute to the economic integrity of Yasnaya Polyana and area and make available traditional Russian cuisine as well as vegetarian dishes.
The new facility will be located in Yasnaya Polyana. Product from the bakery will not only fulfill the needs of the Estate Museum but the surrounding community as well.
Canadian Doukhobors have initiated this project out of gratitude to Tolstoy for his assistance in their migration to Canada in 1899. Given the fact that Yasnaya Polyana is in difficulty due to the socio-economic challenges currently being faced in Russia, this project is indeed timely.
Project official opening is timed to coincide with the United Nations International Day of Peace, Sept 21st 2005.
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