Moscow Metro Stations

L & R Exquisite stained-glass panels at Novoslobodskaya station; Centre: Mayakovskaya station Photos: Jane (2006)

I was lucky enough to visit Moscow in 2006 on a conducted tour. One of the optional excursions was a guided tour of the metro stations.

If you have visited Moscow then you would know why the metro stations are worth visiting - but having used the trains and metro systems in Sydney and Melbourne all my life, which to say the least are functional but uninspiring, I couldn't really work out why I would pay money to tour underground metro stations.

All was soon revealed and even today I can recall being completed overawed by the beauty and elegance of the Moscow metro stations.

When the Metro opened in 1935, it immediately became the centrepiece of the transportation system (as opposed to horse-carried barrows still widely used in 1930s Moscow); a prototype of the vision for future Soviet large-scale technologies.

The metro was touted as the symbol of the new social order – a sort of Communist cathedral of engineering modernity.

The Moscow Metro was one of the USSR's most ambitious architectural projects. The metro's artists and architects worked to design a structure that embodied svet (literally "light", figuratively "radiance" or "brilliance") and svetloe budushchee (a well-lit/radiant/bright future).With their reflective marble walls, high ceilings and grand chandeliers, many Moscow Metro stations have been likened to an "artificial underground sun".

This palatial underground environment reminded Metro users their taxes were spent on materializing "radiant future"; also, the design was useful for demonstrating the extra structural strength of the underground works (as in Metro doubling as bunkers, bomb shelters).1

The trains and stations today have the latest technology - wifi and you can even charge your mobile phone - a far cry to what we have in the trains and metro in Sydney or Melbourne.

Still there is a chavunistic touch - on trains to the city there is a male announcer, on trains from the city there is a female announcer. (The boss calls you to work, the wife calls you home).

Just some of the highlights include the following stations:

Aviamotornaya - Brilliant gold themed to the flight of Icarus.
Komsomolskaya - Bright yellow ceilings and murals chronicling Russia's journey to independence.
Mayakovskaya - Art Deco design, featuring mosaic ceilings and pink marble floor
Park Pobedy - A modern station (built in 2003) with colorful murals; one of the deepest metro stations in the world (276 feet below ground!).
Ploschad Revolutsii - Constructed in 1938 at the height of Soviet pride, this station is home to bronze statues that locals still rub for good luck.2

To fully appreciate the grandeur, efficiency, history along with some fun facts, the video below provides an excellent overview. It is 13 mins, but well filmed and the narration is not overwhelming. The metro stations I am sure will capture your attention. At about the 2.5 minute mark you can share in rubbing the nose of a bronze dog - it will bring you luck!

1 Wikipedia