Church at the entrance to Museum-Reserve IS Turgenev "Spassky Lutovinovo." Russia. Orel region, Mtsensk District, the village Spasskoe- Lutovinovo; Shutterstock ID 221602441; Your name (First / Last): Josh Vogel; Project no. or GL code: 56530; Network activity no. or Cost Centre: Online-Design; Product or Project: 65050/7529/Josh Vogel/ Destination Galleries

Shutterstock / Sergey Chayko


Western European Russia

Surrounded by beautiful countryside, Spasskoe-Lutovinovo, 65km north of Oryol, is the family estate of Ivan Turgenev (1818–83), where the 19th-century novelist completed most of his novels, including his famous book, Fathers and Sons. The main house contains some original furniture, artworks collected by the writer, books and personal items. There’s an icon hanging in Turgenev’s study that was given to the family by Ivan the Terrible, and the chessboard is set ready to play (Turgenev was a masterful player).

To visit the main house you need to join a tour; it's best to arrange English-language tours (R1000) in advance.

Though he spent much of his life in Moscow, St Petersburg, Germany and France, Turgenev thought of Spasskoe-Lutovinovo as his home and returned here many times. He was also exiled here in 1852–53 as a result of his work A Sportsman’s Sketches, which displeased the tsar.

Also on the grounds is the restored family church, which holds regular services, and there is a small literature museum (R100). The big oak tree planted as a sapling by Turgenev and the writer’s ‘exile house’ are a short walk from the main house.

Take a marshrutka (minibus) from Oryol to Mtsensk (R78, one hour, frequently), then switch at Mtsensk’s bus station to a Spasskoe-Lutovinovo bus (R38, 30 minutes, hourly), or take a taxi (around R250). You can also organise a taxi from Oryol (approx R900 including an hour waiting time).