The Moscow Metro Underground (or just ‘Metro’ as it is called in Russia) makes that of the great western capitals look tawdry in comparison. The Metro was turned into an underground kingdom of socialism. The stations became luxurious palaces of the new social order, and they are breathtaking in the originality of their architecture, sculptures and mosaics. It is already 70 years old. The first line opened on 15 May 1935.
The Moscow underground, with its over 200 kilometers of track, serves 10 million people each day and is perhaps the most extravagant architectural phenomenon of the Stalinist era. The metro is cheap, easy to use and by far the quickest way to manoeuvre around the city. The layout is comprehensive and simple which means there is no excuse not to see any of Russia’s amazing sights.With over 150 stations throughout the city, the Moscow Metro is an unparalleled example of architecture and design. Refreshingly free of graffiti, some of these beautifully constructed stations, are frescoed, marble faced and even have some works of art. Although constructed by a tyrant for people living in terror, this subterranean proletarian paradise offers an ironically humane vision of public social space, both beautiful and functional.
Many stations worth checking out – a few in particular are as worthy of a visit as any sight in the city. Mayakovskaya Station, completed in 1938, features a central hall supported by lovely stainless steel and red marble columns, which soar up to a ceiling festooned with socialist realist mosaics. Other notable stations include Ploshchad Revolyutsii, where the passageway arches are supported by vivid sculptures of Red Army soldiers, and Kropotkinskaya Station, with its elegantly-columned platform and upper galleries.