As one of the most extravagant architectural projects in the Soviet Union, and one of the best monuments in Moscow and Russia to date, the Moscow Metro is considered by both Moscow residents and visitors as a Russian national brand.
Built under the command of Stalin, the early stations were constructed as luxurious “palaces for the people”, which embodied brilliance and a radiant future.
The first plans for an underground system in Moscow date back to the Russian Empire but were postponed by World War I, the October Revolution and the Russian Civil War. In 1931, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union made a decision to start the construction of the Moscow Metro. The engineers working in Moscow consulted with their counterparts from the London Underground, which is known as the world’s oldest metro system. The first line of the Moscow Metro, connecting Sokolniki to Okhotny Ryad, was opened to the public on May 15, 1935.
Since 1935 the Moscow Metro has grown into the world’s fourth busiest transit system, spanning more than 300 kilometers and offering 188 stops along the way. But the original architecture of the early stations was left intact, and after all these years still looks amazing. The art includes bas-reliefs, friezes, marble and bronze statues. One can find the images of the former revolutionary and historical characters, their victories, sports, industry, agriculture, and warfare.
Today, the Moscow Metro serves Moscow and the neighboring regional towns of Krasnogorsk and Reutov. The system is mostly underground, with the deepest section being 74 meters at the Park Pobedy station.
The Moscow Metro is now the world’s second most heavily used rapid transit system after Seoul Metropolitan Subway. Each day it carries 9 million passengers, more than New York and London combined. But the growth plans are even more impressive. The state development program says the length of the Moscow Metro lines is expected to exceed 380 km by 2016.
In more recent news, one of Russia’s leading engineering firms Mosinzhproekt has announced its plans to invest almost $20 billion in the construction of new metro stations in the New Moscow district next year. Also, the city officials have repeatedly stressed their intention to engage not only Russian, but also foreign companies in the construction of the Moscow Metro.
Enjoy some pics: