Moscow Metro Celebrates 80th Anniversary in May
80th Anniversary Of The Moscow Metro
On May 15 the Moscow Metro celebrated its 80th anniversary. This stunning subway system dates back to 1935 and witnesses the historical and political changes of Russia. The first metro line was 11 kilometres long, from Sokolniki to Park Kultury, and consists of 13 stations. Nowadays there are 196 stations and 12 lines that run along 327.5 kilometers with over nine millions of passenger every day.
This system is impressively efficient and absolutely the best public transport of the capital. Trains arrive at the stations every two minutes and free Wi-Fi works in all the subway system. The Moscow metro is also well-known for its beauty that leaves the visitors astounded. Many guided tours are organized in the underground network and its museum is located at Sportivnaya station.
The idea of building an underground rail network dates back to 1875, some years after the opening of the London underground in 1863. The plan only came into realization during the 1930s. Then many European engineers invited for consultation, were sure it was impossible to build a metro in Moscow because of its difficult ground. But the Russian engineers made it happen.
Alexei Dushkin one of the most important metro engineers, was the first to built a station with a deep foundation and columns instead of pylons. He was a revolutionary engineer: he studied the annals of Egyptian underground architecture and Russian churches, and used this knowledge to design metro station as Kropotkinskaya and Avtozavodskaya. Dushkin introduced new principles into the design of the metro stations as the importance of well-defined constructive basis, the use of light and architectural structure. He also managed to mix different forms of art with the latest technologies as sculpture in Ploshchad Revolyutsii or mosaics and polished steel in Mayakovskaya.
The Moscow metro had an essential role during World War II. It served as shelter and security resource including several bunkers and the Metro-2 governmental military line. It was like a second city and contained a maternity hospital in which 217 children were born during the war. The metro development didn’t stop during this hard times and seven stations were constructed.
Going on the Moscow metro means also going on a journey through time. Not only its importance and several uses during history tell us about Moscow and Russia but its design too. The style of metro stations changed according to the political figures who led the country. The Stalin era was know as a luxury period in which magnificent and impressive underground palaces were built. Then after Stalin’s death in 1953, Khrushchev stopped all that “unnecessary luxury”, so the next stations were designed in a more sober style as VDNKh or Tverskaya stations. Eventually the ones opened after the collapse of the Soviet Union as Rimskaya and Dostoyevskaya, have a more modern and sophisticated style and symbology.
Here’s a simple interactive map with a selection of 15 thing that Muscovites suggests doing in the Moscow metro.
This post was brought to you by Jessica, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz
Photo Credit: Creative Commons