Moscow’s Metro, a Palace for the People
Stalin's EpicUnderground Marathon
Let the stations be "the palaces of the people," he ordered. And Stalin’s will was done... Planned by the leader of the Soviet Union, Moscow’s Metro was built with notorious love and pride. It was time to show the world all the Soviet’s power and magnificence. Thousands of workers and volunteers were mobilized. The finest materials and the best socialist realism artists were brought from the four corners of Russia. The result could only be great.
Metro Stations or Art Galleries?
Built in record time, the first line between Sokolniki and Park Kultury, was inaugurated in 1935, with 13 stations and 11km extension. Artistic glory of the Stalinism, Moscow’s Metro is currently one of the largest and busiest in the world. It carries more than 9 million people every day!
The walls in polished marble, high ceilings, majestic chandeliers, sculptures, mosaics and stained glass make the stations authentic art galleries. Many of them are even compared to famous European palaces.
Another World, Another Life
In Moscow’s Metro, the journey begins even before catching the train. In fact, you’re likely to take longer reaching the depths of the platform than waiting for the next train to arrive.
Between 30 and 50 meters below the surface, some stations were used as shelter against bombs and chemical attacks during the Second World War.
The Park Pobedy station is the deepest, 84 meters beneath the surface, which is equivalent to the height of a 28 storey building! There, you will find Europe’s longest escalator. It’s a total of 740 steps and a 3-minute journey to the surface.
Art and War Holding Hands
A good example is the Mayakovskaya station, in Art Deco style, designed by the architect Alexey Dushkin. The 34 mosaics embedded in the ceiling hollows portray the "24-Hour Soviet Sky", by the hands of the artist Alexander Deineka, inspired by the vision of the Soviet future as imagined by the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky.
Considered one of the most beautiful stations in the world, Mayakovskaya was the war’s epicenter. It served as the Soviet’s General Headquarters and anti-aircraft shelter upon the arrival of the German army to Moscow, in 1941.
Author of some of the most famous stations of Moscow’s Metro, Alexey Dushkin is considered the master of Stalinist architecture. Another of his masterpieces is Novoslobodskaya. Well known for its 32 beautiful stained glass windows illuminated from the inside, this station leaves no one indifferent.
Associated with the Roman Catholic Church, stained glass was not part of the Russian tradition, so Dushkin ordered it from Latvia. Each sample was carefully crafted by the Russian artist Pavel Korin, awarded with several prizes between 1950 and 1960.
A trip to the past would not be complete without a visit to the legendary Ploshchad Revolyutsii, also with the stamp of Dushkin. Walk through the marble arches throughout the station and stumble across the former Soviet Union’s heroes. Soldiers, aviators, farmers, industrial workers, revolutionaries...
Altogether, there are 76 fascinating bronze sculptures, created by prominent Russian artist Matvey Manizer. The most popular is the one of a soldier with his dog. And since Russia is a country of superstitions, do not be surprised if you see someone stroking the dog's nose. Many Muscovites believe that it brings good luck!