Tula Oblast, famous for its weapons craftsmen and its gingerbread, is in fact much more multifaceted. To learn about Tula region, you must visit the Museum of Weapons; Leo Tolstoy's estate in Yasnaya Polyana; the Vasily Polenov House; Kulikovo Field, the site of one of the greatest battles in the history of Russia; taste the Belyovskaya Pastila and drink tea from the famous Tula samovar.
Lovers of Leo Tolstoy's works come to Tula Oblast from all over the world. There are four national museums in the region, which Tula's residents take great care of: the Yasnaya Polyana State Memorial and Nature Reserve Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy; the Kulikovo Field State Museum of Military History and Nature Reserve; the Vasily Polenov State Memorial History and the Art and Nature Museum-Reserve, Tula State Museum of Weapons.
The Kulikovo Field, Russia's most important battlefield, is 140 kilometers south of Tula. To commemorate the victory over the Mongol-Tatar hordes, a memorial column and the Sergius of Radonezh church were built here. The museum-memorial complex in the village of Monastyrshchina is dedicated to the military history of Kulikovo Field from ancient to modern times. This battlefield is also known as the field of Russian glory.
Not far from Tarusa, on a hill high above the Oka River, stands a three-story white house – the museum estate of Vasily Polenov, a leading Russian landscape painter of the second half of the 19th century. Its 870 hectares are home to the original house-museum, the artist's "Abbey" studio, outbuildings, the Trinity Church in the village of Bekhov, designed by Polenov. The museum-estate includes the estate park, garden, meadows and forest and agricultural land surrounding the area. The museum-reserve is dedicated to the educational and artistic work of several generations of the Polenov family.
Tula Oblast is the blacksmith of Russian weaponry. Unique collections of cold-steel and fire arms from the 18th to 21st centuries, modern hunting, sport and fighting weapons manufactured in Tula are exhibited and stored in two buildings: under the ancient domes of the Epiphany Cathedral in Tula Kremlin and in a new five-story building built in the shape of a knight's helmet.
Tula weapon makers have a passion for making working miniature models of weapons and other curiosities. It is said that the smaller the model, the greater the craftsman's skills.
The samovar has long been a symbol of Tula and Russia; it is a beautiful and original souvenir. You can see a large samovar collection in the Tula Samovar Museum: a samovar made by the first samovar-makers Ivan and Nazar Lisitsyn; the Italian Vase Samovar, which received an award at an exhibition in Saint Petersburg in 1870; Children's Samovars given as a present to the family of Nikolai II and the Terem Samovar, the only example with such an original shape.
Another ancient symbol of the region is Tula Gingerbread (pryanik). The region's gingerbread is first mentioned in census books dating back to 1685. The Tula Gingerbread Museum contains the smallest gingerbread, slightly bigger than a half-ruble coin, and the biggest, weighing about 16 kg, the only one like it in Russia. Celebratory, custom-made, historical, personalized and shaped gingerbread and gingerbread for distinguished occasions are all made. In addition to Tula gingerbread, the Belyovskaya Apple Pastila is served with a cup of tea. Other craft industries in this region include: artistic decorations of hunting weapons, accordion production, Filimonovo toys and Belyovskoe lace.