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  Tula - Russia  
     
   
 
Tula is a Russian city, situated 200 km to the south of Moscow. It was founded in 1146, so it’s one year older than Moscow.
 
   
 
The heart of the old city is the Kremlin.
 
   
 
This year is jubilee for it. The Kremlin has been standing for 500 years already. In ancient years it served for protection of Tula townspeople from invaders and raids of nomads. Inside of this fortress all civil and military people lived.

Tula Kremlin consists of nine towers, four of them with the gates, and a wall with teeth in Italian style in a form of swallow tails.

 
   
     
   
 
On the territory of the Kremlin you can see the Uspenski cathedral (1762) with golden domes, build in a stile of Russian baroque. The cathedral is distinguished by the relief carving of white stone: shells, cockle-shells, elements of vegetable ornament and heads of angels.

The interior of the cathedral is decorated with frescos.
 
   
     
   

Another famous building on the territory of Kremlin is the Bogoyavlenski cathedral
(1855-1862). It was built in memory of soldiers, died in the Patriotic war of 1812
against Napoleon. 
   
     
 
In May of 1989 the Museum of Arms was opened in this church. 
In the north-west part of the Kremlin were trade rows. Here folk theatre and 
skomorokhs have been entertaining people. 
 
   
     
   
 
The church of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is one of temples of the Uspenski women monastery, that’s why it has black domes (Usually Russian churches and cathedrals have golden domes). The monastery appeared in 40s of XVII century, but doesn’t exist now. The church is the only building that remains. It’s built in Byzantine style.  

 
   
 
 
Tula is well known for its samovars (an iron apparatus for boiling water for tea 
with the help of a high boot and coal). Since the end of XVII tea has being imported
from China to Russia. In the XIX century it became a national drink. 
The first factory of samovars was opened in 1778. 
 
                       
     
             
 
Now we have the Museum of samovars (a grey building with columns).  We even have a proverb: To go to Tula with your own samovar. The proverb has the same meaning as an English one: To carry coal to New Castle.
Tula samovars received a lot of medals in different Russian and foreign exhibitions in Paris (1889), Chicago (1893), London (1909) and all-Russian exhibitions in Moscow. 
 
   
 
Tula is also well known for its cake that is called pryanik. Tula cake is produced
at factories; special technique is used to make it, it’s a kind of art. In the XIX
century there were dynasties of skilled workmen who knew secrets of producing
pryanik. The cake even has received a lot of prizes at international fairies in
different European countries.  Sometimes these honey cakes are made with the help of drafts (sketches) of customers. Then they have an unusual form:  animals, heart,symbol of one’s firm or something else. For already two years we have the Museum of pryanik. There you can see the smallest cake (a size of coin) and the biggest one
(about 16 kg).
 
             
 

								
The Museum of Tula antiquities was opened in 1993. There are a lot of coins and
treasures of IV-ХI centuries, arms of warriors of that time there that have been
found during excavations on the territory of Tula region.  Here you can also see the
process of potter’s and blacksmith’s producing (work), interior of the Russian
peasant’s house, and things of mode of life.
 
             
 
Since XVI century Russia is famous for its weapon. Tula masters have been producing
cannons, rifles, sables and guns. In 1724 at the Tula arms factory according to the
order of Peter I masters began to gather old guns, which later became the base of
the museum collection.  The Museum of weapon is on the territory of the Kremlin, in
the building of the Bogojavlenski cathedral. There you can see unique collections of
weapon that displays the evolution of arms since the late 16-th century till the 
present day. Russian, European (Belgium, Germany, France, England, Italy) and
oriental (Turkey, Iran, Japan) weapons in the museum give a chance to compare
achievements of Russian and foreign gunsmiths. Tula weapon is also exposed in the
Hermitage (St. Petersburg). 
The Museum of weapon has a large collection of sporting, hunting and decorated
arms. The true masterpieces are guns, which were produced and finished in
commemoration of the Tsars` visits to the factory. Some of them were displayed at
the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 and were marked with a Big Gold medal.
Among the modern pieces the special fire-arms are of the most interest. They
are small-sized submachine-guns, soundless assault-rifles and pistols,
underwater weapons, a shooting knife for a scout.
The museum also exhibits cannons and machine-guns for air-crafts, helicopters,
ships and armed-vehicles.
 
   
     
 
In the first quarter of XVIII century our tsar Peter I demanded every city to have
their own Emblem (coat of arms). To design them he invited an Italian count
Francesco Santi. He asked town dwellers to tell what special they have. At that time
Tula people was celebrating anniversary of the plant of weapon (10 years) and said
that Tula is famous for smiths and arms. That’s why on our Coat of Arms we have
hammers. 
 
   
 
 
In Tula we have a legend about Levsha. He was a very talented man, who managed to
shoe a flea!!! It was an English flea, maid of iron, it could dance. Of course it’s
an exaggerating, but in every legend there is a part of the truth, because all over
the word you can see exhibitions of miniatures. Unfortunately The English didn’t
appreciate his masterpiece, because this flea couldn’t dance any more and he died in
a hospital for the poor. Nobody knows if this man really existed. I think that it’s
a collective image of many talented men. Now you can see his image on different
production, mostly vodka, as we have vodka with such name.
 
   
 

			
Russia and Tula region are rich in different trades, including guns. There are
several kinds of painting of wooden plates, spoons, iron trays, caskets, and toys.
They are “hohloma”, “gjel’”, “jostovo”, “paleh”. Tula region is famous for
filimonovskaya” toy.
 
                                 
     
             
 
Tula also is famous for production of accordions and bayans (a kind of accordion).
 
  There is one well-known field in Tula region – Kulikovo pole. The Kulikovo battle of
1380 was the largest medieval fight between Russian Princedoms and the Golden Horde.
It largely determined the future of Russian State and started the liberation of
northeastern Russia from the yoke of the Tartar-Mongol invaders. The combined armed
forces under the direction of Moscow Grand Prince Dmitry Donskoy defeated the hordes
of Mamai’s. The Kulikovo battle symbolizes the beginning of the unification of
Russia and the expanding influence upon the strengthening of national consciousness.
 

Every year in the middle of September on the place of the actual battle, the
Festival is held in which clubs engaged in military and historical reconstruction
participate. This is the only chance for visitors to witness live re-creation of the
medieval battle. 
Now it’s a cultural complex with a church and column.
 
 
     
     
  I wish to thank my friend Olia, who lives in Tula,
for her help in writing this article.