As far as transporting people go, Moscow’s metro doesn’t just efficiently transfer people from one point in the city to another; each station’s elaborate design is also a doorway to various points in the Moscow’s (and, in general, Russia’s) history. A ride on the train, which costs around USD 0.84 per single trip , is like going to a historical and art museum combined that the metro itself has become a tourist attraction itself.
One weekend morning, I decide to follow Lonely Planet’s itinerary for the metro tour, stopping by 10 stations considered the most beautiful. From Belorusskaya, near where our hotel is located, I ride the Sokolnicheskaya line four stations east to the starting point, the Komsomolskaya.
The Komsomolskaya is located under the busiest transport hub of Moscow, the Komsomolskaya Square, and is dubbed as the “gateway station of Moscow.” The station hall features elegant bronze chandeliers and marble arcades, as well as mosaic panels with ancient temple architecture style.
Going in a counterclockwise direction, I next reach the preceding station, Prospekt Mira. The station was originally called “Botanical Garden” after the nearby Moscow University’s garden, which is the oldest in Russia. The station naturally follows a botanical theme, with floral elements interspersed with the development of agriculture in the Soviet Union.
The next station, the Novoslobodkaya, is notable for the stained glass panels, all designed by Pavel Korin. Russia did not have a tradition of working with stained glass, so the panels were created in Latvia using Korin’s compositions for the panels.
And then I arrive again in Belorusskaya, the station closest to our hotel. The station features octagonal mosaics featuring aspects of Belarusian culture, while the floor is designed to look like a Belarusian quilt.
From the Sokolnicheskaya line, I transfer to the Zamoskvoretskaya Line, which traverses Moscow in a roughly north-south direction. The next station from Belorusskaya is the Mayakovskaya, whose Stalinist architecture is considered by many to be the most beautiful among Moscow’s metro stations.
Two stations south is the Teatralnaya, named after the Teatralnaya Square, where several theaters (including the historic Bolshoi Theatre) are located. The central hall vault features a theatrical arts theme, with bas-reliefs showing a different figures each representing music and dance from various nationalities of the Soviet Union.
From here, I transfer to the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line and arrive at the Ploschad Revoyutsii. The station is named after the Revolution Square located right above it. The station has a series of arches flanked by a pair of bronze sculptures depicting the people of the Soviet Union. One particular depicts a man with a rooster, which commuters rub, supposedly for good luck.
Heading west, I arrive at the Arbatskaya. The staion was built in 1953 to replace an older parallel section of the track, which was destroyed by a bomb during a German attack in 1941. The new station was constructed much deeper and larger so that it could double as a nuclear bunker.
Two stations further west and I reach the Kievskaya, named after Ukraine’s capital. The station’s quasi-baroque ceilings are decorated with a series of frescoes depicting traditional Ukrainian life.
Finally I arrive in Park Pobedy, the deepest metro station in Moscow, lying at 84 meters underground. The station also contains the longest escalators in Europe, with each escalator measuring 126 meters long. The station’s design seems more futuristic than the previous nine I’ve seen.
From the station, I exit to the Victory Park, which commemorates the Soviet victory in World War II. I explore the area for a bit before entering the station again and retracing my steps back to Belorusskaya.