LEISURE Newsletter, May 2016

2017 is 100th anniversary of October revolution/coup which split the world in remote 1917 into 2 parts - socialist states and capitalist countries and had a great impact on the world's history. Please find ideas for revolutionary tour as well as informaton on Yasnaya Polyana - Leo Tolstoy estate which we had a pleasure to visit in April with Moscow staff team as well as some information on what can be seen in Moscow.

Helen Isaeva

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace and Yasnaya Polyana Estate

This spring Travel Russia team had a wonderful opportunity to visit the estate of the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, the author of War and Peace.

Yasnaya Polyana estate - the former home of the writer Leo Tolstoy now is a famous museum. Tolstoy was born, wrote War and Peace and Anna Karenina while living in this house and is buried nearby. The house-museum is located 12 kilometres southwest of Tula, Russia.

Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9, 1828 at Yasnaya Polyana. His parents died when he was very young, and he was raised there by relatives. In 1856, after he finished his military service, he moved into a house, which had been one wing of the previous mansion, and brought his wife there in 1862.

At the time Tolstoy lived there, the Yasnaya Polyana estate had about four thousand acres (16 km²), on a gently sloping hillside with dense original forest at the upper end, and a series of four ponds at different levels. There were four clusters of peasant houses, with about 350 peasants living and working at the estate.

Tolstoy wrote War and Peace at Yasnaya Polyana between 1862 and 1869, and then wrote Anna Karenina there between 1873 and 1877. He wrote the novels in his study by hand in very small handwriting, with many additions and deletions and notes, and gave the draft to his wife, who made a clean copy at night, which Tolstoy then rewrote the next day. Each chapter went through five or six drafts, and she recopied War and Peace seven times before it was finished.
Tolstoy's thirteen children (four of them died in childhood), were all born at Yasnaya Polyana. They were born on the same leather couch where Tolstoy himself was born, which was kept in his study next to his writing desk, and is still there today.
During the harvest season he often worked in the fields with the peasants, both for physical exercise and to make his writing about peasant life more realistic. He also visited the school for peasant children which he had created in one building, where he told stories to the children.
Tolstoy was visited by almost all the important Russian cultural and artistic figures of his time at Yasnaya Poloyana; his guests included writers Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, the painters Valentin Serov, Ilya Repin, and many others.

Yasnaya Polyana
Yasnaya Polyana
October Revolution in  Petrograd
October Revolution in  Petrograd
Novodevichy Convent

100 Years Anniversary of Russian Revolution

In 2017 it will be 100 years of the Great October Revolution. Bolshevik Revolution or October Uprising was a seizure of state power instrumental. It took place with an armed insurrection in Petrograd traditionally dated October 25, 1917. During this time, urban workers began to organize into councils where revolutionaries criticized the provisional government and its actions. The October Revolution in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) overthrew the provisional government and gave the power to the local soviets. The Bolshevik party was heavily supported by the soviets. After the Congress of Soviets, now the governing body, had its second session, it elected members of the Bolsheviks and other leftist groups such as the Left Socialist Revolutionaries to key positions within the new state of affairs. This immediately initiated the establishment of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, the world's first self-proclaimed socialist state that had an enormous influence on the XXth century' and on the whole world's history.

Following this historic event, we prepared a special Revolutionary Tour Program, which includes Moscow and St. Petersburg and visits to memorable places. For more details please check the link below.

Why Moscow

Over the years we notice that St. Petersburg is more popular among our clients than Moscow. In this issue we want to reveal what Moscow can offer its guests.

Moscow is the capital of Russia and is a major political, economic, cultural, and scientific center of Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as the largest city entirely on the European continent. Moscow was founded in 1147 and has a mixture of modern buildings qith medieval structures. One of them is Novodevichy Convent (New Maidens' Monastery). Vasili III, the Grand Prince of Moscow, founded the Novodevichy Convent in 1524 in commemoration of his conquest of Smolensk in 1514. The Novodevichy Convent housed many ladies from the Russian royal families and boyar clans who had been forced to take the veil, such as Feodor I's wife Irina Godunova (in residence 1598-1603; she was there with her brother Boris Godunov until he became a ruler himself), Sofia Alekseyevna (Peter the Great's half-sister; in residence 1689-1704), Eudoxia Lopukhina (Peter the Great's first wife, in residence 1727-1731), and others.

Another place worth a visit is Kolomenskoye, which is a former royal estate situated several kilometers to the southeast of Moscow city center. The village of Kolomenskoye was first mentioned in the testament of Ivan Kalita in 1339. Tsar Alexis I had all the previous wooden structures in Kolomenskoye demolished and replaced them with a new great wooden palace. Foreigners referred to this palace as 'an Eighth Wonder of the World'. The future Empress Elizabeth Petrovna was born in the palace in 1709, and Tsar Peter the Great spent part of his youth here. Fortunately, detailed plans of the Alexis I palace survived. The Moscow Government has completed a full-scale reconstruction in 2010.

These are only a couple of ancient history examples which can be found in Moscow. Visit it and explore more!