Tula (Russian: Тула; IPA: [ˈtulə]) is an industrial city and the administrative center of Tula Oblast, Russia, located 193 kilometers (120 mi) south of Moscow, on the Upa River. Population: 501,169 (2010 Census); 481,216 (2002 Census); 539,980 (1989 Census).
Tula was first mentioned in the Nikon Chronicle in relation to a military operation conducted in 1146. As the chronicle was written in the 16th century, the date is disputed. The first confirmed mention of Tula dates to 1382.
In the Middle Ages, Tula was a minor fortress at the border of the Principality of Ryazan. As soon as it passed to the Grand Duchy of Moscow, a brick citadel, or kremlin, was constructed in 1514-1521. It was a key fortress of the Great Abatis Belt and successfully resisted a siege by the Tatars in 1552. In 1607, Ivan Bolotnikov and his supporters seized the citadel and withstood a four-months siege by the Tsar’s army. In the 18th century, some parts of the kremlin walls were demolished. Despite its archaic appearance, the five-domed Assumption Cathedral in the kremlin was built as late as 1764.
In 1712, Tula was visited by Peter the Great, who commissioned the Demidov blacksmiths to build the first armament factory in Russia. Several decades later, Tula was turned by the Demidovs into the greatest ironworking center of Eastern Europe. The oldest museum in the city, showcasing the history of weapons, was inaugurated by the Demidovs in 1724, and Nicholas-Zaretsky Church in the city houses their family vault. The first factory to produce samovars industrially was also established there in the course of the 18th century. After the Demidovs moved the center of their manufacture to the Urals, Tula continued as a center of heavy industry, particularly in the manufacture of matériel.
In the 1890s, Ivan Savelyev, a medical orderly, became the founder of Social Democracy in Tula, and set up a workers’ study circle
The city grew rapidly in the early 20th century as a result of arms production during the 1905 Russo-Japanese War and World War I. Tula’s factories also manufactured weapons for the Red Army during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1921.
During the Great Patriotic War (World War II) of 1941-1945, the city was important in the production of armaments. Tula became the target of a German offensive to break Soviet resistance in the Moscow area between October 24 and December 5, 1941. The heavily fortified city held out, however, and Guderian’s Second Panzer Army was stopped near Tula. The city secured the southern flank during the Battle of Moscow and the subsequent counter-offensive. Tula was awarded the title Hero City in 1976. It is home to the Klokovo air base.