Ride the Legendary Moscow Metro

Ride the Legendary Moscow Metro!

Moscow metro…there is so much to tell! It is surrounded by astonishing facts, mysteries, and urban legends. Built in 1935, it’s the second most heavily used transit system in the world! Almost 9 million people use it every day!

During the earlier years, the metro was built mainly by Komsomol volunteers. Thanks to their determination, the project was a success. You see, Soviet Union missed both knowledge and experience in the field. Many foreign specialists said it would be impossible to accomplish the task. And yet-here it is.

Some of the stations are a work of art. When you get off the train, don’t be surprised if you see beautiful statues, mosaics and carvings.

Here is a short list of stations you should visit:

  • Kurskaya
  • Ploschad Revolutsii
  • Arbatskaya
  • Smolenskaya

I just love their grim, “Citizen Kane” kind of style. Reminds me of giant zeppelins, kitchen robots and rocket cars.

Oh, and I didn’t mention talking computers.

Many of the earlier built stations are deep. Very deep. That’s because comrade Stalin wanted them to be giant shelters in case the Bomb fell. In many places, especially in the passages, there are built-in steel sections. They actually cover blast doors that would quickly seal off the station in case of emergency.

Older stations are not the only ones suited for fallout survival. For example, in Savelovskaya station, there is a built-in decontamination camera right by the entrance! I doubt it works, but this relic is a gloomy reminder of the Communist times.

The Cold War myths and facts

It’s time for some urban legends. I won’t speak about obvious nonsense, such as ghosts and giant rats. But one mystery is worth mentioning. It’s the so called “Metro-2″. The myth says that Moscow metro contains a secret tunnel network. It connects the Kremlin, Ministry of Defense, bunkers, command posts and other strategic objects.

These tunnels run for tens of kilometers (and far out of Moscow!). They allow quick evacuation of Russian leadership. And they lie much deeper than usual metro. It seems hard to believe, but here is another fact. “Metro-2″ is not the only secret object in Moscow. There is a whole underground city built by the military during the Cold War. It’s hard to estimate the amount of money invested in creating this colossal hideout.

A piece of advice

Some tips on using the Moscow metro.

1) Try to have a local guide by your side. Not all Muscovites speak English. If you have some problem – the guide will help you out.

2) Watch your belongings closely. Pickpockets are a pain, especially during peak times. Which brings us to…

3) Avoid rush hours. Try to use the metro between 12 and 2 PM. Otherwise you risk getting stuck in a crowd.

4) Learn your route well. Unfortunately,the signs are mostly in Russian. So make sure you know the number of stations you have to go, all of the passages, etc. See point 1 also.

5) Get ready for noise. The trains are loud, so prepare to tolerate some acoustic disturbance.

Moscow metro is a major cultural and historical landmark. It will greatly enrich your travel experience, so try to visit it.

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