Tula Oblast is a region in Central Russia, which borders Oryol Oblast to the southwest, Kaluga Oblast to the west, Moscow Oblast to the north, Ryazan Oblast to the east, and Lipetsk Oblast to the southeast.
Located beyond the reach of Moscow's cosmopolitan and capitalist forces, Tula Oblast is for visitors the real Russia. The regions major tourist attractions are decidedly "Russian": Tolstoy's estate at Yasnaya Polyana and the birthplace of modern Russia in the battlefields of Kulikovo. The capital, Tula, is also a great "Russian" stop for its beautiful samovars and kremlin, and avoids the tourist hordes that descend upon Moscow's Red Square.
Outside Tula (and even within Tula), very few people understand anything but Russian.
Trains from Moscow's Kursky Station take 3 hours to arrive in Tula.
The Tula region is famous for its pryaniki (PRYA-nee-kee)—honey gingerbread cookies best eaten with tea.
Tula is the historic capital of Russia's production of samovars and these can make excellent, if expensive, souvenirs. Be sure to have good documentation of any samovar purchases because they may face strict scrutiny at customs—many irreplaceable antique samovars have been smuggled or carelessly allowed out of the country over the past century.