The Leo Tolstoy Museum

The name of the great Russian writer Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy is inseparable from Moscow, the old, kind, generous and homelike Moscow, where many writer’s characters used to live. At one time, all Moscow houses were hidden from dusty roads by magnificent gardens of country estates. An estate is a house together with gardens and it was a whole separate world, a unique Russian world. But nature started to give in to stone by the end of the 19th century. Leo Tolstoy who had never thought of his life without living in an estate saw this sad process happening. So perhaps, it is for a reason that the State Leo Tolstoy Museum is situated at two estates, the one at Prechistinka and the other at Khamovniki.

The State Leo Tolstoy Museum is one of the oldest Russian literary museums. The idea of establishing the Tolstoy Museum was born in November 1910 after the writer’s death. The founder of the Tolstoy Moscow museum was the Tolstoy Society, which at first acted as a Moscow branch of the Petersburg Tolstoy Museum’s Society. The decision to have the Tolstoy exhibition in Moscow was adopted at the general meeting of the Society in 1911. The exhibition was to become a foundation of a future permanent museum. The Tolstoy exhibition was opened in October 1911 at eight rooms of the Historical museum. When the question arose about the closing of the exhibition many of exhibits’ owners agreed to leave them to the Tolstoy Society for permanent storage in order to give them to the Tolstoy museum in the future.

The museum’s main building at Prechistinka represents one of characteristic monuments of Moscow’s Empire style. It is a one-storey wooden building staying at a street’s frontage line and ornamented with a six-pillar portico and elegant Ionic capitals. The suit of rooms (a hall, a parlour, a bedroom) is positioned to go along the front entrance.
The museum at Prechistinka had opened its doors on the 20th of November 1920 – the 10th anniversary of Tolstoy’s death. The literary museum at Prechistinka and the country-house museum “Khamovniki” were merged into one museum at the same year.

The memorial atmosphere is fully preserved at the museum; the visitors find themselves in the air of Tolstoy’s house. The museum’s exposition consists of things that were in the house when the writer lived there. The writer’s study, situated at the second floor, was the place where Tolstoy had written about 100 of his works.

Everything is authentic in this museum; that’s why two buildings of one museum have not only become the historical, cultural and literature monuments but also as rare examples of the ancient wooden country estates that Leo Tolstoy loved so much. Moscow tours