A samovar is a metal container used to heat and boil water in the home, particularly for tea.
The samovar is the center of the traditional Russian home, and Tula is the center of the Russian samovar industry. Located 120 miles south of Moscow, Tula was a major center for weapons production and skilled metalworking until the 18th century, when the craftsmen of the area decided to beat their swords into plowshares, using their metalworking talents to create samovars instead of cannons. The Russian phrase “bringing a samovar to Tula” is equivalent to the English phrase, “carrying coal to Newcastle.”
The Tula Museum of Samovars commemorates the history of the samovar with exquisite examples of Tula’s tradition of artistry over the last few centuries. There’s not a whole lot else to do in Tula, so if you’re a big enough fan of samovars to make the trip to the museum, you’re probably in the market for one too. Luckily for you the museum also sells high-quality samovars ranging in price from $200 to over $7,000 for a custom model.