Moscow’s Magnificent Metro
I have been to plenty of big city metro/tubes/undergrounds around the world to know a decent metro station when I see one and Moscow has plenty of decent ones! All Moscow metro stations are decorated in some way which makes all of them nice but some are like a royals sitting rooms and really are works of art. Some have frescos, chandeliers, some have tens of statues, some have mosaics, the list goes on. Moscow’s metro should definitely be on your things to do list.
Moscow Metro doesn’t have the quaintness of the tube in London with catchy names or the movie familiarity of New York but several times when travelling on the Moscow Metro I actually got off at an unplanned stop because the station looked so good. I will say that none of Moscow’s metro stations were built in the last 10years so none of them have some wacky modern themes to them and that some of the stations although clean and probably cutting edge at the time do look dated and like something you would find in Starsky and Hutch. Are the stations easy to get around at the beginning? Definitely not as no signs are in English and only after a few rides will you know what to look out for. If you know the Cyrillic alphabet it makes things much easier. That doesn’t mean you need to know Russian. But all these things don’t make the stations look any less magnificent.
Moscow’s brown circle line is the best line for these over the top metro station. The stations are huge but even on a platform a few hundred meters long there is a different mosaic on the ceiling every 10mtrs (30ft) or in a different station a different roman themed statue on each side every 10mtrs. It’s incredible stuff.
All these fabulous stations were built during the soviet era so nobody can ever say there were dull! At the same time a lot of the themes for the stations are war heroes, big generals or powerful armies. I didn’t though see any depictions of Lenin on my travels despite good auld Vladamir still being a favourite subject further south in Volgograd and Rostov-on-Don. This is not to take away though from the intricate work on the ceilings or magnificent chandeliers. There are also themes of revolution, agriculture, historical figures and goodwill with other countries to name but a few. And although some of the statues depict soldiers in battle, you cannot look on in awe when there are a hundred of these large statues in a metro station!
So are the stations just to disguise the fact that Moscow’s metro doesn’t run very well? Hell no. I thought Mexico city had an incredibly timely metro service, much more frequent than New York, London or Paris but Moscow definitely beats them all. They actually have a timer at the end of each station so you are not guessing that it was only a minute since the last one, you actually know! During the day all metro lines run a metro between every 60-90 seconds! Every 60seconds! And I know this because the timer was at 50seconds as it was coming into the station. Even when I was running around seeing some cooler metro stations at midnight on Sunday the metro ran every 5minutes. Now that is customer service!
Best Stations – Moscow Metro
- Anything on the brown circle line (no. 5). There are 12 stops and all of them have something to offer.
- Mayakovskaya on the green line (no. 2) just north of the city centre.
- Ploshchad Revolyutsii on the dark blue line (no. 3) which is the stop for Red Square and the Kremlin.
- Novokuznetskaya on the green line (no. 2) just south of the city centre
Don’t let me fool you with this little list, the metro in Moscow is a tourist attraction all by itself and should be on everybody’s things to do.