Tula, the city-hero, is the administrative, economic and cultural centre of Tulskaya oblast. It is situated on the Central Russian upland on the banks of Upa (a tributary of Oka) 193 km southwards of Moscow. It consists of five administrative districts. The population is about 600 thousand people.
Tula was first mentioned in the annals in 1146. In those times the young city was repeatedly attacked by nomads. Defeat of the Mamay hordes in 1380 sped up the process of unification of the Russian land around Moscow. In the 2nd half of XV century Tula became a part of the united Russian state.
The city stood at the border of the Wild steppe from which Tatars continued their attacks. It induced Moscow to strengthen Tula in order to protect itself from the south. Then Tula became the chief fortress of a fortified line built here.
Later conditions for development of small-scale manufacture were created. In 1696 Nikita Demidov established his "iron works'. After him the Batashovs, Mosolovs and other manufacturers also founded own plants.
In the middle of XVIII century (1762) almost half of the city population (4469 of 8896 males) was state gunmakers, merchants, handicraftsmen and others. The turnover of the most outstanding merchants such as Liventsev, Lugin and others reached thousands rubles. Tula played an important role in economic life of the country.
In 1777 Tula became the centre of the province. Simultaneously with economical development of the city its cultural life revived too.
Then was founded a number of educational institutions: the Seminary, the Alexander Noble School (1801), the Provincial Grammar School, the School for children of gunmakers (1823), the first Lady's School (1841). In 1830 the first public library and the newspaper were opened. In 1871 a sugar factory was built here. In 1883 - copper and cartridge plants. In 1893 - a city park, in 1896 - a bicycle track, which greatly contributed to development of the Russian bicycle sport.
On November 7, 1927 a first tram appeared in the city streets.
There were some higher educational institutions such as the Mechanical Institute (1930), the Pedagogical institute named after L.N.Tolstoy (1938), the Mining college, Medical, Technological and other technical schools.
In 1937 on formation of Tulskaya oblast Tula became its centre.
Today the city specializes on manufacture of arms, metallurgy, various equipment for radio communication, mechanical engineering, equipment for the light, processing, coal-mining, building industries and medicine. The leading branches are the ferrous metallurgy, chemical, machine-building and metal working, wood-working, building materials, light, food, polygraphic, flour-and-cereals industries. Prominent feature of the city industry is that the majority of local enterprises work for the defence. By right Tula is called the arsenal and shield of Russia. The Tula arms manufacture dated back to XVI century. Gunmakers have kept and continue traditions of their well-known ancestors. They produce first class hunting and sports guns, rifles, pistols, revolvers that were repeatedly marked by diplomas and medals of world's fairs.
Tula is not only the home of the first state plant, but also the home of the first in Russia metallurgical furnace.
There are the Pedagogical and Tula State Universities, faculty of the Institute of Law of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, branch of the Moscow Financial and Economic Institute, Artillery school, more than 10 scientific and research institutes.
Here you can see one of the oldest Drama Theatres, the Theatre of the Young Spectator, Puppet theater, museums, the Philharmonic society, circus, cinemas, palaces of culture, numerous architectural monuments, stations, parks, gardens, etc.
The most ancient architectural building of Tula is the Tula Kremlin. It is a place of interest for tourists being a masterpiece of the Russian architecture.