Russia

Discovering Moscow’s Most Beautiful Subway Stations

Famous for it’s beauty and elegance, the Moscow subway makes my trip in Russia an exciting one commuting in the city alone. While the stations are bustling with locals, I could always see some visitors stopping in the crowded, sitting on a bench, and admiring the breathtaking arts and historic décors in different corners and the ceiling at the lobby and train platform.

“They used to have palace for kings, we are going to build palaces for the people!” Said one of the key architects of the Soviet Subway. For decades, the Moscow subway provide efficient and punctual transportation services to the citizens and the historic network remains among the most clean and effective subway systems in the world. As soon as the train approached the station, train doors open rapidly sprung open and passengers marching in and out of the cars in a smooth and orderly manner. So, don’t worry if you miss a train because the next one would probably come soon enough.

I have talked about the Free walking tour in Moscow some time ago (check out: We are Here! Moscow!), and the same company provides another Moscow Metro Tour at 3 PM every day, taking tourist through the metro stations with in-depth information and interesting facts of some of the most iconic stations along the “Coffee Ring”. If you are on a budget, it’s absolutely fine to take your time, and visit these stations at your own pace.

Moscow Metro MapThe “Coffee Ring” (a.k.a. the Koltsevaya Line, or, the Brown Line) is the most well-known circle route that connects different subway lines in central Moscow. It is the most crucial to the transfer patterns of passenger since its completion in 1954. I have heard about this legend too many times when I was in Moscow – Joseph Stalin himself suggested the circle line when he placed a coffee cup on the original development map and then lifting it, leaving a circular coffee stain around the center of the city and said “it’s your main fault, it should be built”. It is thought to be the reason why the line is brown on the maps.

Although the subway stations doesn’t have many English signs (there are new signs added on the floor), the system is still easy to navigate when you have a metro map in your hands. Use the numbers and colors because sometimes it could be confusing to the Russian alphabets to the names of the stations.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Most of the must-see subway stations lies on the north of central Moscow. Some of them looks more like cathedrals, ball rooms, and art galleries, than a transportation hub. The stations still feature décor of Lenin, or communist icons that reminded us the time of Stalin. So without further ado, here are some of the best stations in the Moscow subway system that you shouldn’t miss:

The Red Line / Circle Line

Komsomolskaya

Keyword: The yellow ceiling


1. Komsomolskaya

Komsomolskaya is probably the most featured and recognizable station in the network. The station is the intersection of the Red Line and the Circle Line and one of the very first station of the subway system. As it’s located under three railway stations, it is also one of the busiest hubs.

The platform is a perfect example of an apotheosis of Stalinist Style – limestone and marble pillars, grey granite floor, enormous chandeliers, mural mosaic and Baroque style ceiling decorated with precious stones, they are telling the story about the Russian fight for independence and glorious victories throughout history.

Drak Green Line

Mayakovskaya

Keyword: Soviet poet and a ball room


10. Mayakovskaya

Another unforgettable moment of the Moscow subway journey. The station is named after the Soviet poet, Vladimir Mayakovsky, who is a prominent figure of the Russian Futurist movement. Hence, it wouldn’t be a surprised to see how his spirit reflected in the design of the platform – It looks like a warmly-lit modern ballroom! Apart from the wide arches, huge domes, and lamps, check out the 34 mosaics on the ceiling that represent “24 Hours in the Land of the Soviets”, they depicts a Soviet future envisioned by the poet.

Dark Blue Line

Ploshchad Revolyutsii

Keyword: 76 giant sculptures


3. Ploshchad Revolyutsii

This is one of my favourite stations and it is unforgettable as well because of the 76 magnificent giant sculptures of Soviet people that embedded on every corner on the platform. Called the revolution Square, it is for the people – the sculptures feature families and children, to athletes, famers, industrial workers, hunters, to soldiers. I love this station because of the boldness of these sculptures and its theme taken from all walks of life.

Circle Line

Taganskaya

Keyword: Panels of light blue and white


4. Taganskaya

Back to the Circle Line. Taganskaya’s magnificent panels, on both sides of the platform, though inspired by Russian folklore, are about war. The light blue and white decorations feature bas relief profile of ships, sailors, airmen, and other military figures of the Red Army and Navy – which, to the Russian, are important in their history and victory.

Circle Line

Novoslobodskaya

Keyword: Stained glass and “Peace Throughout the World”


2. Novoslobodskaya

The 32 beautiful stained glass panels, adorned by brass border, in Novoslobodskaya are what the station is known for. Illuminated from within, the panels feature floral patterns and a range of characters from sailors, artists, architects, and engineers. At the end of the platform is a mosaic “Peace Throughout the World”, created by Pavel Korin.

2. Novoslobodskaya (2)

Circle Line

Belorusskaya

Keyword: Statue “Belarusian Partisans”


6. Belorusskaya

The station is connected to Belorussky Rail Terminal. The station features an elaborately patterned plaster ceiling, light fixtures supported by ornate scroll-shaped brackets, and a variety of decorations based on Belarusian themes. The statue, “Belarusian Partisans”, installed on the passage was another show stopper of the Belorusskaya, it commemorate the 100,000 partisan fighters from Belarus.

Circle Line

Krasnopresnenskaya

Keyword: Bas-Reliefs


7. Krasnopresnenskaya

Another intersection station of the Brown Line and Purple Line. Compared to the other subway stations, Krasnopresnenskaya has a rather subtle theme, decorated with red granite pylons with white marble cornices. Look out for the 14 bas-reliefs that depicts the events of the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Circle Line

Prospekt Mira

Keyword: Golden Mosaic


5. Prospect Mira (4)

The station is rather romantic with floral elements and softer color tone. In the center are medallion bas-beliefs featuring the different aspects in the development of agriculture in the Soviet Union. The eyecatcher here is the hysterical golden mosaic at the end of the passage.

5. Prospect Mira (2)

 

20 thoughts on “Discovering Moscow’s Most Beautiful Subway Stations

  1. I always equate Soviet architecture with perfunctory cement block buildings. The subway stations of Moscow changed my mind. They really are clean and elegant in their own right. It’s a good day when I learn something new. P.S. the layout of the lines and rings looks like something an engineer would draw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the Russian incorporated different architectural styles and made it their own somehow. Some of the structure are post-soviet and modern! 😊

      Like

  2. Such a beautiful subway stations! I’m loving those tunnel shots. Too classy and artistic architect. That hysterical golden mosaic one is superb.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your pictures! I’ve heard that Moscow’s subways stations are among the most beautiful ones in the world. I’m surprise to see also how clean they are. They rather look like museum hallways, no kidding! I’d love to photograph them too.

    Liked by 1 person

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