The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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Local History Museum in Krapivna


The Krapivna Local History Museum has been a branch of the Yasnaya Polyana Museum-estate from October 1, 1999. It is located in the historic settlement of Krapivna, now a village and formerly a district center in Tula Province, 40 km south of Yasnaya Polyana. 

The first mention of Krapivna can be found in the will of Prince Dmitry Donskoi (1389). In this document, Krapivna was bequeathed to his wife, Princess Evdokiya. Presumably, Krapivna got its name because of nettles growing there in abundance after the Tatars’ devastating raids: krapiva means nettle. Most likely, the town of Krapivna was founded as a fortress that was part of the line of abatises constructed as a defense from the Tatars. But as a settlement, it had existed long before, though later it was transferred to a more strategic place: closer to the confluence of the rivers Upa and Plava.       


In the early 20th century Krapivna still was a flourishing town – the center of the Krapivna district, which Yasnaya Polyana belonged to at that time. That is why Krapivna was so closely related to the life and public activities of Leo Tolstoy. 

The town was not touched by industrialization in the 20th century, and thus the general lay-out of Krapivna remained unchanged and many historic buildings were preserved. In one of them – the former mansion of the landowner Saburov – a local history museum was opened in Decemer 1990. But a serious research of the historic and cultural heritage of Krapivna was begun much earlier - soon after World War II; at that time Nikolai Demidov, a geography and astronomy teacher at the local school and a member of the Geographic Society of the USSR, organized a small school museum. But after his death the museum was closed, and it was reopened only some time later by Demidov’s student Alexander Shilin. The museum got the status of a state museum in 1994, and A. Shilin became its first director. 


The permanent exhibitions of the Krapivna Museummake it possible to see Krapivna as viewed by different people – both our contemporaries and Leo Tolstoy’s. They tell us about the history of the town and its modern life, about the life of the merchants and peasants, about the development of educational institutions in Krapivna, and about its outstanding natives and residents. The museum collection contains over 4000 objects. The most precious collections include Filimonovo toys, visiting cards and postcards, lacework, and homespun towels. Collections of photographs and coins (coined from the time of the rule of the Romanov dynasty starting from  Empress Elisabeth, to Soviet time) are also of interest. Besides, the museum holds temporary exhibitions; they are often organized in cooperation with other museums, the Artists’ Union, the State Center of Modern Art and other organizations, and also in cooperation with artists, sculptors and craftsmen.  

krap2The museum is the focus of Krapivna’s cultural life, it works a lot with local residents. Lately, the Yasnaya Polyana Museum has been carrying out successful projects in Krapivna aimed at reviving the former town and attracting the public attention to it. Since 2003, the Nettle Festival has been held here annually. The academic conference «Province In the Context Of History and Culture» has become an annual event, too. In 2007 – 2009 the project Krapivna: Revival of a Jewel of the Russian Province, financed by an EU grant (TASIS Program), was implemented.  

Krapivna Local History Museum

301233, Tula region, Shchekono district, village of Krapivna
Sovetskaya st., 49

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