Museum “Tula samovars”.
Long before my trip to Tula, I knew that in addition to weapons, the visiting cards of this city are samovar and gingerbread. While I included the Tula State Arms Museum among the main points of the cultural program, I had not originally planned to spend time on getting to know the gingerbread men and samovars.
Nevertheless I have visited the museum “Tula samovars” because of very interesting circumstances about which I will tell you below.
History of “Tula samovars” museum
Tula was rightly considered a gun capital of Russian Empire in XVI-XVII centuries, but in peaceful periods of history the need in new guns and sabers was naturally decreasing – so Tula armourers found an alternative occupation.
As a result, already in the middle of the XVIII century the Demidovs dynasty of gunsmiths began to develop the production of copper utensils – first in Suksun in the Urals, and a little later in their native Tula. So the first Tula samovars appeared. Today they can be found as a part of museum expositions in many cities, but most of them are collected in the Tula museum.
The exhibition opened relatively recently – in 1990 – and is located in a small building, built at the beginning of the XX century. To find the museum was not difficult at all because it is located right near the walls of the Tula Kremlin.
How to get to the museum “Tula samovars
If you, like me, come to Tula by car, it is very easy to get to the museum: after passing a bridge over the river Upa, we turn right off Sovetskaya Street, which is a continuation of Moskovskoye Highway. And then we go as far as the Kremlin, along Metallistov Street. As you can see in the photo, cars stop right at the entrance to the museum.
If you come to the city by bus or train, it is a little bit more difficult. In this case you have to use ground public transport, which costs 20 rubles per trip, regardless of whether it is a bus, streetcar or minibus. The intervals in all cases are about 20-40 minutes during the day.
How to get from the bus station
In this case you can take buses number 18, 28 and 28A and buses 17, 18k, 33 and 62.
The bus stop “Victory Square / Street, May 9” is about 3-5 minutes walk from the bus station,
and you need to go to “Lenin Square” stop.
How to get from the railway station
If you go from Moskovskiy railway station take buses 13, 13A and 16 and buses 12/15, 4 (4m), 56 (6t), 60 (16) and 61 (16/10).
Public transportation stops right at Moskovskiy Vokzal square, but from the bus station you should go to the stop “Lenin Square”.
Working hours of the museum
Ticket price is:
- for adults – 200 p,
- for pensioners – 100 rubles,
- For full-time students – 100 rubles,
- For children under 16 years old admission is free.
The museum is open every day except Monday and the last Wednesday of the month. From Tuesday to Friday it is open from 10:00 to 20:00 and on weekends from 10:00 to 20:00. There is no extra charge for photography.
Tula Graduation Campaign
It was thanks to this action that I got into the museum, because it was a pity to pay 200 rubles for an exhibition I wasn’t really interested in. In 2015, it was held on the night of Friday, June 26 to Saturday, June 27. At that time, many museums in Tula were open until 24.00, and admission was free. Among them was the museum “Tula samovars”.
The Tula samovars museum exposition
The exhibition itself has two floors, and I, as always, began on the first floor. There, besides the cash register and souvenir store, you can see the oldest samples, as well as the predecessor of the samovar – the so-called sbitennik. In fact, it is an intermediate link between the samovar and the kettle, because it is already equipped with an internal brazier and an ash pan, but still retains a handle for carrying, and it is inferior in size to the majority of samovars.
But this is not all the rarities that the museum has gathered under its roof. Tula samovars, photos of which you can find on at the museum’s official site are only a small part of the vast collection.
Apart from the sbitennik there are samovars of the second half of the XVIII – early XIX centuries, produced by the Lisitsyn, Somov and Malikov factories. Certain exhibits from the first floor give a little glimpse into the process of making the first Tula samovars.
On the second floor the hall is noticeably larger than the part of the lower level exhibited. There are the works of Tula masters, beginning from the second half of XIX century up to now. At that time samovar production was already in full swing and the producers were actively experimenting with design. I would have never thought that a samovar could be like this.
At the turn of this century and the last one, the samovars were finally replaced by electric teapots from the everyday life, and then their production finally formed as a new kind of art. So today in a Tula museum you can see a samovar made entirely. of sugar. Of course, one would hardly think of drinking tea from it, but as a work of art it looks very respectable.
Also on the second floor you can see the biggest decorative samovar in the world. It is so big that there is even a mini-exhibition inside it.
I can also note that the creators of the museum did not focus on the samovars only, but dedicated several stands to the culture of tea drinking in general. Though it is hard to surprise anyone these days with cups and teapots, I have never seen sugar in the form of massive heads in our stores.
I must say, even enlightened sugar in this form seemed to me much more appetizing than the usual cubes from a cardboard box. Of course, they did not put the whole head into a cup, but pounded the sugar with special tongs, which are also present in the museum.
To summarize, in comparison to the Kremlin, the Museum of Arms and the Exotarium, the exhibition “Tula samovars” did not make the strongest impression on me. Moreover, if it were not for the “Tula Graduation” event, I would have most likely never visited this small museum. I do not regret the time spent, though: Tula is not Tula without samovars, and it was interesting to learn about the culture of tea drinking in Tsarist Russia.
Museum “Tula samovars”.
Museum “Tula samovars” is one of the symbols of Tula. It is located in front of the entrance to the Tula Kremlin in the old building named after Emperor Alexander II. The museum was opened in 1990 and since then has been a trademark of the city on a par with the Kremlin.
The museum exposition tells about the history of samovar making, which dates back to the 18th century. In the museum halls all kinds of samovars are represented – from miniature to giant ones. In the souvenir departments you can buy samovars made of wood or birch bark.
Tula samovars museum: price and opening hours
Museum “Tula samovars” is open every day except the last Wednesday of the month (the museum is a sanitary day). Museum schedule depends on the day of the week:
- Monday through Thursday and Sunday the museum is open from 10:00 to 18:00.
- On Friday and Saturday – from 10:00 to 20:00.
The cost of tickets to the museum “Tula samovars:
- Adult ticket – 300 rubles.
- Children ticket – free for children under 16 years old.
- Pensioners (RF citizens only) – 250 rubles.
- Students (full-time students only) – 250 rubles.
The entrance ticket includes the right for amateur photo and video shooting.
Optional guided tours are available (for groups of 6 people or more): 350 rubles for adults, 100 rubles for children under 7 years and students, 300 rubles for other privileged groups of citizens.
Interactive educational programs are organized for schoolchildren, telling about Russian folk traditions, rules of etiquette and stages of preparation for the feast in the form of a tea party or a quest game.
Tula samovars museum expositions
The samovars collection occupies two halls of the museum space. The first hall includes a collection of ancient samovars of 18-19 centuries. The exhibits include both factory items, made in the early 19th century at the first Tula factories, and works of private craftsmen. The collection includes large pail samovars, filled with several buckets of water, camping samovars for a couple of cups, coffee samovars and the most interesting type – sbitenniks. This is a prototype of a samovar: the drink sbiten was usually sold in the street, and to keep the tea warm, the vessel was equipped with a pipe for hot coal.
In the second hall there are samovars, made at the end of the 19th and in the 20th centuries. Some of the interesting exhibits are: a collection of 5 miniature samovars that were given to children of the last Russian emperor by a local factory, Soviet-made samovars, a department with samovars that are not for practical use but for interior decoration: porcelain samovars, birch-bark samovars, carved wooden samovars.
Besides samovars, the museum collection includes antique tea sets, antique furniture of the past centuries, which are decorated as tea drinking corners.
The museum was formed in 1990 from the extensive collection of another city exhibition space – the Tula Regional Historical and Architectural Museum. The city authorities decided to open a branch of the Historical and Architectural Museum, because its samovars collection occupied more and more space in the main building.
The collection of samovars was moved to the historical building named after the Emperor Alexander II, which was built in the early 20th century in the classical style.
The exposition of the museum is constantly growing even today. Now there are several private collections on display. Every year, the museum’s staff goes on expeditions to Russian villages to find new and unique examples of samovars made by local craftsmen.
How to get to the museum “Tula samovars
Museum “Tula samovars” is located in the historic center of the city, in front of the Kremlin entrance. In walking distance from the museum there are the main sights of the city and pleasant places for walks: Belousov Recreation Park (15-20 minutes walk), Kazanskaya embankment (5-7 minutes walk through the Kremlin territory), Lenin Square (right in front of the museum building).
Museum “Tula samovars” inside: panoramic views on Google maps. Maps
There are several public transport stops within walking distance from the museum. The closest of them is “Lenin Square”: buses number 3, 8, 12, 13, 13a, 16, 18, 21, 24, 25, 28, 40, 44; route cabs number 4, 12/15, 32, 33, 50, 55, 56, 59, 61, 62, 65. Streetcars № 3, 9, 10, 12, and 15 stop at the “Central Market” stop, a 5-7 minute walk from the museum.
Map of the walking route from the stop “Lenin Square” to the museum “Tula samovar”.
Cab rides in the center of Tula are usually inexpensive, but you can make the trip even more budget-friendly by using special cab calling apps. In Tula you can order a car with a private driver through the following applications: RuTaxi (Taxi Veset), Yandex.Taxi, Maxim and Gett.