The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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International Nettle Festival

Since 2003, the Nettle Festival has been organized annually at the village of Krapivna by the Yasnaya Polyana Museum-estate. The Festival was established at a time when there was growing interest in Russian provincial life and history while the provinces had almost lost their special atmosphere and character, influenced by contemporary life. It is hard to overestimate the role of the province in Russian history: many outstanding figures came from small towns, and many famous classical works of literature and art were created in the country estates, far from the capital. Krapivna – now a village, but formerly a town and a district center in the Tula Province – still preserves its local provincial colour. It has its own history, and its own legend.


The official symbol of Krapivna is the nettle; it can be seen on the coat-of-arms of the town, which was adopted in 1778. The very name Krapivna comes from the Russian word krapiva, which means nettle.  So, the nettle also became the symbol of the Festival. It symbolizes love of life and vitality, strength and renewal.

krapiva2Every year the program of the festival starts at several open-air sites.The mission of the Festival is to contribute to the revival of the former town of Krapivna through culture and event tourism. The main idea of the project is to create an interactive image of a small provincial town – both unique and typical, 

as depicted in classical Russian literature so many times. Initially, the project was based on local folklore traditions and crafts, and on the creative potential of the local community, which makes it possible to show the originality of this cultural landscape.

The main site becomes a place for musical experiments. Within the last few years, the festival has acquired an original musical style of its own, which can be defined as ethno-folk-jazz. In 2007 the festival became international, with musical groups from other countries also performing here. 


During the Festival, a fair is organized on the main square of Krapivna. Among various items sold here, many are made locally. Besides, guests of the Festival can take part in numerous interactive entertainments: “baptism” by nettle, making traditional souvenirs, culinary contests and trying dishes cooked with nettle, nettle fights, etc.

Lately, the Nettle Festival has become a significant cultural event in the Tula Region that attracts more tourists to it.

Besides, it lends variety to the cultural life of the local community, and at the same time shows new perspectives in the development of provincial towns in Russia. 
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