The Russian subway system is among the oldest on the world. Its construction begun in 1930 and ever since then, the railways kept on being built. Nowadays it measures approximately 250 kilometers in length. It’s the second most crowded and most used metro system in the world, after the one in Tokyo.
The most impressive about the subway in Moscow are the stations: the beautiful architecture, the decorations, the several styles combined, everything makes you think of monuments and museums, rather than public transport.
Most stations have been built during Joseph Stalin’s regime, and represented one of his vanities – positive ones – and his endeavor to show the world that he such beautiful things will be a part of his legacy.
The stations are decorated in the same style as some of the Russian palaces: marble of different colors, Byzantine mosaics, and elegant combinations of tiles, stained glass, frescos, chandeliers, and bronze statues, all of them adorning all the 140 stations in Moscow. Few people know that these precious assets are the remains of thousands of churches and monasteries which Stalin had demolished, in his attempt to build the greatest socialist empire of the world, like in the case of Park Kulturii, Kropotninskaya or Okhotnii Riad, three stations where the marble pieces once made of the walls of Jesus the Savior Cathedral.
The subway itself is one of the most important and popular touristic attractions of the Russian capital, and out of the 150 subway stations in Moscow, Komsomolskaya is considered to be the most beautiful. The subway station is almost like a museum. It is decorated with paintings by the greatest artists in Russia and is illuminated by crystal chandeliers weighing several tons each. It was inaugurated in 1935 and you can admire the tall pillars, gray-blue marble and granite floor. The imposing ceiling is decorated in a Baroque style with mosaics whose themes target Russians’ struggle for freedom and independence.
Mayakovskaya is considered to be one of the most beautiful stations; it was inspired by the Soviet poet Mayakovski’s visions on the future of the country. It has 34 mosaics made by Russian artist Alexander Deyneka, and during World War II, the station served as anti-missile shelter.
Entuziastov Shosse. The theme of this station is the Russian people’s struggle for freedom throughout history. Here visitors can admire many types of revolutionary marble sculptures and paintings created under revolutionary ideals; among the numerous works of art, you can distinguish the “Flames of Freedom” sculpture belonging to A. Kuznetsov.
Prospekt Mira is located in the northern side of the city, in an area where there are not many tourist attractions. This station was decorated by architects Vladimir Gelfreyech and Mikhail Minkus and was inspired by elements of the botanical garden nearby.
Ploshchad Revolyutsii: a station where you can observe the 76 sculptures arranged thematically, from parents with their children, athletes, students, farmers, workers or soldiers. At the entrance, there is the statue of a customs officer with a dog whose nose is often petted by passers-by, as the legend says that it brings them luck.
Arbatskaya station was built primarily to serve as anti-atomic bunker. It is the deepest metro station in the world (dug 41 meters underground) and is the second largest in Russia.
In Novoslobodskaya station visitors can admire handmade stained glass 32 in Lithuania, a country that prides itself on tradition in this area.
Kievskaya. This is the “pearl of the Soviet Empire”. This metro station is the first in Moscow and is named after the city of birth of Joseph Stalin – Kiev (Ukraine). The station is decorated with sculptures, paintings and mosaics made by the greatest artists of Russia.
There are dozens more and each bears a unique mark of classic elegance slightly touched by the socialist plate.
Either way, the Moscow metro represents one of the most sought sites in Moscow and will welcome you any day.