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I have always been intrigued by communist architecture. The Moscow Metro is a fine example which I wanted to visit for a long time. I visited Moscow already a few times but never found the time for it. This year I visited Moscow for the 5th time and finally I had time during a rainy afternoon to see the beautiful stations of the Moscow Metro.
These stations are all located on the inner ring line (Koltsevaya Line) with two exceptions which are located within this circle. My Russian business partner picked me up at the Marriott Hotel Novy Arbat where I stayed and he showed me around the Moscow Metro. I’ll take you to the following stations (see photo) but first I’ll give a short history lesson on the Moscow Metro.
Moscow Metro History
The plans for a Moscow Metro system date back over a century but were only realized in 1935 with one line and 13 stations. When the metro opened in 1935 this was a victory for socialism and extensively celebrated. I must say after having visited the Pyongyang Metro in North Korea there are some similarities as they both date from communist times. It’s built over the years into a system of radiating lines from the center to the suburbs with circle lines connecting these. There are now 15 lines if you count the new opened center line too and 244 stations. All those new stations are just new boring stations but the old stations of the center line are those that are full of artwork.
The most beautiful stations are built prior to 1950 after which most stations look more the same and built in a more simple style. All stations are built with columns on both sides with in the center an open area. In recent expansions, there are stations without columns but those of the first stages of development all have columns or pylons. The main building materials for the Moscow Metro at that time were concrete for the basic structure or sometimes steel. They were finished with plaster, tiles, marbles and of course the art work. See the gallery for the stations!
Roundtrip Moscow Metro
I started the trip at the Novoslobodskaya, part of the Koltsevaya Line (ring line), my favorite station as you can see below. The next station is Prospekt Mira which has beautiful marbles and ceramic reliefs with topics from the agricultural development in the Soviet Union. Next station: Komsomolskaya with its yellow ceiling and mosaics depicting historical images of the fight in Russia for freedom and independence. Next up is Kurskaya which is a station from 1950 and is, as said before, very simply and mainly decorated with marbles.
The following station called Taganskaya has beautiful blue majolica panels decorated with traditional Russian ornaments. Paveletskaya station is next and is again simple in design but decorated with more different colored marbles as Kurskaya. Dobryninskaya is also of later date and inspired on the colors of the Russian orthodox churches; I liked here the zig-zag ceiling lighting. Oktyabrskaya also opened in 1950 and is made up of different colors of marbles but between the pylons are reliefs of medallions of Russian soldiers. Park Kultury is the next station on the ring road and is also part of the fourth expansion like the three stations before but based on ancient Greek designs. Between the pylons are beautiful reliefs of sport and recreational themes.
Kiyevskaya station is located below the Kiyevsky Rail Terminal and is built in an Art Nouveau style and has between the pylons mosaics depicting the unity of Russia and Ukraine. Next station: Krasnopresnenskaya which is a station decorated with granite and marbles with bas-reliefs of the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917. Belorusskaya comes next and is, as the name says related to Belarus. You will see beautiful mosaics of the daily life of Belarusians. The ceiling is exceptional with beautiful plaster work. Lets go to the next station. Guess where we end up? Yes, back at Novoslobodskay!
My favorite station of the Moscow Metro
My favorite station is Novoslobodskaya because I just love the stained-glass artwork at this station. In total the station has 36 stained-glass windows which are lid up from within the pillars. The station is constructed to resemble a crypt. You can see three of the windows in the photo below and in the picture at the top of this page you can see the mosaic at the end of the station. This mosaic is called “Peace Throughout the World”. What’s your favorite station in Moscow? Let me know in the comments below.
I enjoyed travelling the Moscow Metro for a few hours. Most of the ring circle stations are a piece of art worth checking out. The Moscow Metro was one of the last things I had to explore in Moscow as I already explored most other places of interest. For example: Kolomenskoye, Novodevichy, Red Square & Kremlin, I did some urban exploring in the Hovrinskaya Hospital and a day trip to Sergiev Posad. I will return to Moscow again and I’m sure I find new things to explore!
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Gallery Moscow Metro
Click an image for a full screen gallery of more photos taken during this trip. If you like to use any photo for commercial, private or editorial use please contact first for permission and/or pricing.