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    Tula

Tula was first mentioned in the Nikon manuscript, dating from 1146. In 1503, it joined the Moscow principality and served as a fortress protecting Moscow on the south. Tula lay in the path of Tatar armies advancing on Moscow and was fortified from the 15th century.

It has long been famous for gunsmithing. The first steelworks and metal-cutting and weapon-making factories appeared in the city as far back as the 16th century, and the most famous industrialist was Nikita Demidov, who made his way into big business from being an ordinary blacksmith. In 1702 Peter the Great awarded the famous Tula smith Nikita Demidov with land in the Ural Mountains where rich metal deposits were found, leading to the establishment of metal production. The Demidov dynasty made Tula famous for all types of metal works, guns and samovars, both industries based on local iron lore and carbon deposits.

Today, Tula is a small industrial town, proud of its historical past and unique museums.

Sightseeing

Like many other Russian towns Tula can boast an ancient Kremlin. The walls and towers are well-preserved as well as two cathedrals of the Kremlin. Presently one of the cathedrals serves as an Armory Museum displaying all kinds of weapons old and modern from different parts of the world and the death-mask of Peter the Great; the other one is in operation. In the museum there is a torture chamber worth seeing. The local military history clubs stage performances at weekends near the Kremlin.

The ancient streets start from the Kremlin walls; here one can see old noblemen and merchants houses, though not many of them are in their best condition.

If you take the street going northward from the Kremlin youll come across the monument to the Demidovs, Great Russian industrialists of the 18th and 19th centuries. A bit further, on the opposite side of the street a monument to Peter the Great stands.

Among other numerous museums of Tula there is the Museum of Samovar, located close to the Kremlin, the Museum of Tula Honey-Cakes, the best in Russia, and the Museum of Tula Antiquities.



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