Moscow Metro

The Moscow Metro was largely constructed under the direction of Stalin between 1935-1955. Delivered as his “gift to the people”, the stations are some of the most elaborately decorated public transportation systems in the world. We took advantage of the slower traffic on a Sunday morning to tour some of the more remarkable stations in the system. We encountered prime examples of Stalinist Classicism at every stop: marble columns, vaulted ceilings, and glass chandeliers. Mosaics, stained glass, reliefs, murals, and sculptures depicting Soviet-era themes of labor, industry, agriculture, athletics, and classical arts as well as later pieces glorifying soldiers and warfare fill the waiting platforms and entry halls. Also omnipresent are the familiar Soviet icons: the five-pointed star, hammer and sickle, and Lenin’s visage. Additionally, many stations served a double purpose as air raid shelters. As such, they are buried deep underground and can be sealed off by massive pivoting blast doors.

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