Beneath the streets of Moscow lies unexpected beauty. The stations of the Moscow Metro are a stunning art gallery of the Soviet era. In 1935 the architects and artists of the metro stations were tasked with designing spaces with the themes of svet and svetloe budushchee – light and a radiant future. As a result, the stations have high airy ceilings, light marble walls, brilliant chandeliers, and beautiful decorations. In the 1950s during the cold war, the designs of new stations were toned down, and it wasn’t until around 2000 that new stations started to be artistic masterpieces again, albeit in a new style. We’ve chosen 10 of the most fantastic, beautiful, and awe-inspiring metro stations, both old and new.
10. Taganskaya Station
Taganskaya Station is on the Koltsevaya Line of the Moscow Metro. It was opened in 1950 and features 48 triangular panels with cameos of heroes of the Red Army in the centers. The inward facing panels are painted a light blue, and the outward facing panels are monochromatic. The lighting comes from gilded chandeliers in the same light blue. The lobby of the station is topped by a dome with a large fresco titled Victory Fireworks, and the walls are lined in white and lilac marble.
9. Dostoyevskaya Station
Dostoyevskaya Station is of course named after the famous author – his family home is near the station. Opened in 2010, the station features murals showing scenes from his books including Crime and Punishment and The Idiot, many showing scenes of violence. Apparently people complained about the violence shown in some of the paintings and the artist replied “What did you want? Scenes of dancing? Dostoevsky does not have them.”
8. Park Pobedy Station
Park Pobedy Station is also a newer station, opened in 2003. The two platforms at the station are similarly designed, but with opposite color schemes. The columns of the outbound platform are faced with red marble on one side and light grey marble on the other, and the inbound platform is the opposite. Each platform has a large mosaic at one end, of the 1812 French Invasion on one platform and World War II on the other. This is the deepest station in Moscow, and the escalators are the longest in Europe at 126 meters/413 feet: the ride up takes about 3 minutes.
7. Arbatskaya Station
Arbatskaya Station was opened in 1953 and was designed to double as a bomb shelter in case of nuclear war, so it is both large (250 meters/820 feet long) and deep (41 meters/135 feet below ground). The columns in the station are faced with red marble, and there are bronze chandeliers hanging from the high-vaulted ceiling. The walls and ceilings have ornamental brackets and floral bas-reliefs. This station is on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line, and is separate from the station of the same name on the Filyovskaya Line.
6. Electrozavodskaya Station
Elektrozavodskaya station was opened in 1944 and named for a nearby electric light bulb factory. It features some of the most striking decorations of any of the stations. The art-deco ceiling of six rows of incandescent circular lights is the first thing you’ll notice. On the walls are a series of bas-relief carvings of workers at various jobs both agricultural and industrial. The floor has tiled Grecian waves along the edges. The lobby is decorated with red marble and has bas-reliefs of the pioneers of electricity and electrical engineering.