Moscow metro – a piece of art hidden underground

In most cities the Metro system is just a means of getting from one tourist attraction to another. The Moscow metro is an exception to this rule, it is a tourist attraction in itself. You will find yourself stopping to marvel at some of Moscow’s amazingly ornately designed stations. Carrying an average of 7million passengers per day, it is also Europe’s busiest Metro system.

The Moscow metro is the main and safest transport system in the Russian capital. It is second only to the metro in Tokyo as far as the volume of traffic is concerned. The metro system consists of 12 lines with an overall length of over 298 km, with 180 stations. The first line opened on 15 May 1935. The passengers were immediately impressed by the fairy-tale beauty of the underground palaces, by the amount of light and the lavish decoration of the stations.

No underground in the world has used a synthesis of arts in its décor. The Moscow metro is a really unique architectural and artistic monument. It was the first one in the world to decorate the stations with statues, frescoes, mosaics.  It is hard to believe that all this magnificence was practically hand-made. Nevertheless, the result is amazingly beautiful stations, different from one another. Another uniqueness of the Moscow metro is that the construction of new stations is still based on these ideas and principles.This is how it was planned 75 years ago.

Moscow metro was built not only as public transport. In 1930-s the country was already preparing for a possible war. During the Siege of Moscow, in 1941, metro stations were used as air-raid shelters. Many stations built during the Cold War are very deep and were planned as shelters in the event of nuclear attack. The result of this is that the deepest station of the Moscow metro is “Park Pobedy”, 84 meters, the height of a 28-storey building. It’s one of the deepest stations in the world. At the same metro station one can experience the longest escalator (126 m). Standing at the bottom one cannot see the top.