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Wayne and Patricia Primeau. All Rights Reserved.
The first line "Sokolnichenskaya" (the red line on the Metro
map) was opened on May 15,
1935. At that time the total length of the system was 11 km and it had
13 stations, from Sokolniki to Park
Kultury. Now the line has 19 stations stretching from Yugo-Zapadnaya
to Ulitsa Podbelskovo.
on the red line, designed by architect Aleksei Dushkin (who also
designed "Dyetsky Mir" - the Children's World department store at
Lubyanka), is the most beautiful station on this line. It features
clean lines and graceful columns ending in five-pointed stars on the
ceiling. The station was built with an opulent use of fine marble to
impress visitors to the Palace of Soviets which Stalin planned to erect
on the site of the demolished Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The
marble used to clad the graceful pillars and walls of the station was
taken from the Cathedral when it was destroyed. (Marble from the
cathedral was also used in the construction of Krasnaya
Vorota and Kuznetsky Most
Board a train at Kropotkinskaya
heading toward the far end of the line at Ulitsa Podbelskovo. Travel
for seven stops and get off at Komsomolskaya.
Komsomolskaya is a connection point between the Red line and the Brown
line or the Koltsevaya or Circle line. In the station on the Red line
there is a mural dedicated to the heroic workers from the Komsomol, or
Young Communist League, who built both stations so named.
Follow the signs to the Koltsevaya line, the Circle line.
Construction on the Circle line began in 1944, and the line was opened
in 1952. Geographically, it mirrors the above ground street system,
lying just outside of the Garden Ring. The line is 19.2 km in length
with 12 stations connecting to every other line and unifying the
system. It also connects with seven out of the nine railway stations in
the city. One quarter of all the passengers on the Metro travel on the
Circle Line, making it by far the busiest line in the system. The
stations on this line were the creations of some of the USSR's most
talented architects, sculptors and artists, including: A Shchusev, V
Guelfreikh, M Minkus, A Duchkin, P Korine and others. Komsomolskaya
station received the Grand Prize at the International Exposition in
Brussels in 1958.
Komsomolskaya station on the Circle
line is thought by many to be the most beautiful station on the Metro.
At 55 m in length, it is also the largest. The exterior of the building
is crowned with a tall steeple and a five-pointed star. It was designed
by the architect A. Shchusev, the designer of Lenin's mausoleum. Its
show piece is the Hall of Victory, containing elements designed by
architects Shchusev, Kokorine and Zabolotnaya. The ceiling is adorned
with mosaic panels designed by Korine. In these panels we see a revival
of ancient techniques, their first use in Moscow. Squares of marble and
granite are used as well as squares of coloured glass to honour the
greatest military victories of the Russian people by creating images of
Russia's most exalted heroes: Alexander Nevsky, Dmitry Donskoy, Kuzma
Minin, Dmitry Pozharsky, Alexander Suvorov, Michael Kutuzov. Three
additional panels glorify the achievements of the Soviet people during
the Great Patriotic War: "The march of Soviet troops on November 7,
1941 on Red Square," "The taking of the Reichstag" and "Victory."
Board a train and travel two stops to Novoslobodskaya.
Novoslobodskaya, also on the Brown or Circle line, designed by
architects Dushkin and Strelkov, was opened in January 1952. This is my
favourite station. The hall boasts a series of glowing stained glass
panels incorporating floral motifs with depictions of the arts in
Soviet life. These breathtaking panels were created in the studios of
the Latvian Department of the Foundation for the Arts by Velandan,
Krests and Ryskin, master craftsmen from Riga. At the end of the
station is the motto "Peace to the whole world".
a train and ride one stop to Byeloruskaya
station on the Brown or Circle line. Byeloruskaya station, opened in
1952, celebrates the culture of Byelorussiya and the strong ties of
brotherhood between the peoples of Russia and Byelorus in delightful
ceiling panels of marble mosaic, moulded plaster panels, and sculpture.
The mosaic panels, depicting Byelorussians in national dress engaged in
their daily activities, were designed by Oprishko. The floor of the
hall is also an intricate mosaic in a traditional Byelorussian pattern,
and worthy of note. At the back of the hall, three heroic figures
support the coat of arms of Soviet Byelorussia, bearing the emblem
"Proletariat of all countries, unite."
Follow the signs to the Byeloruskaya
station on the Green line or the Zamoskvoretskaya line. Take a train
one stop to the Mayakovskaya station.
The Green or Zamoskvoretskaya line was not all constructed at
the same time. Thus, its stations portray different periods in their
decorative styles. Novokuznetskaya, Paveletskaya and Avtozavodskaya
were built during the Great Patriotic War and reflect the heroism of
the Soviet people in their struggle against fascism. In contrast, the
newer stations serving the new residential neighbourhoods in the
northwest and southeast of the city are decorated in a more austere
contemporary style. The line is more than 30 km long, with 17 stations
and five connections to other lines.
Mayakovskaya station, the jewel on
the Green line, is one of the largest stations in the system. Designed
by architect A Dushkin and opened in 1938, it received the Grand Prize
at the International Exposition in New York in 1938. It was named for
the great Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky and contains a bust of its
namesake. However, the station is best known for the mosaic panels
decorating the ceiling of the hall. The mosaics were designed by
Deineka on the theme "A Day in the land of Socialism" and are composed
of squares of opaque coloured glass. The manner in which the idea is
carried out is unique amongst the stations. Entering via the escalator
at the beginning of the hall, one sees compositions in pale shades, the
tones of morning light. As one progresses down the hall, the colours of
the panels gradually shift to luminous midday sunlight, to late
afternoon, to the deepening and more sombre hues of twilight and a
restful evening. At the end, the sun again rises as a new day dawns.
During the Great Patriotic War (World War II), Mayakovskaya station was
the command post for municipal anti-aircraft batteries, and a
communications hub between various regions in the city and the front.
Board a train and ride to Novokuznetskaya
station. Novokuznetskaya station, on the Green line, was opened on
November 20, 1943. The opening of a new Metro station at the height of
the War was a sign of continuing normalcy in a time otherwise
punctuated by chaos and fear. It was designed by Baranov and Bukov who
relied heavily on the use of patriotic themes, and included for the
first time, subjects from Russian history. The bas reliefs depict some
of Russia's greatest military commanders, including: Alexander Nevsky,
Dmitry Donskoy, Minim, Pozharsky, Suvarov and Kutuzov. The mosaics,
made of smalt (glass coloured with cobalt), were created in Leningrad
during the siege, and were brought to Moscow by sailors of the
Ladozkhaya fleet. Many of the materials used in the construction of
this station were taken from the Church of Paraskeva Puatnitskaya,
build in 1739, destroyed on orders of Stalin. The marble for the
benches came from the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, also destroyed
Board a train and ride back to Tverskaya
and follow the signs to Chekhovskaya on the
Light-grey Line. This modern station was opened in 1987 on the new
Serpykhovsko-Timiryazebskaya Line. This line runs north and south to
serve the newer residential complexes in the outlying regions of
Moscow, and connects with six other lines through four junctions. Three
major writers are (were) acclaimed in the halls of three of the
stations on this line: Pushkinskaya (opened in 1975), Gorkovskaya
(opened in 1979, now renamed Tverskaya), and Chekhovskaya. A majority
of the new stations are more stark in their design, but it was decided
that stations within the Circle should be more elaborate in keeping
with stations from earlier periods.
The Chekhovskaya station is has a
very modern feel and its decoration is a departure from the heavy
Stalinist period. The station is located under Pushkin Square, indeed
under the famous statue of Pushkin. Marble mosaics designed by
Lyudmilla and Pyotr Shorchev call to mind the feeling of some of
Chekhov's stories. Motifs include: flowers representing love and beauty
in tribute to the author, a comfortable interior reminiscent of
Chekhov's stage settings, a provincial town, cherry blossoms from his
orchard, scenes from the Crimea. In the centre of the hall one can see
stage curtains with lights and flowers, and at either end images depict
Chekhov himself and the museum to his memory in Moscow.
Board a train and ride to Serpukhovskaya
on the light grey line. Walk to the Brown or Circle line. Board a train
and ride to Taganskaya. The theme of
Taganskaya Station, opened in 1950, is the Great Patriotic War. The
hall is a series of graceful marble archways separated by elaborate
pale blue triangular frames glorifying the defenders of the Motherland
- partisans, pilots, tank drivers, etc. In the centre of the cupola in
the hall of escalators is an image of the Soviet Flag waving
victoriously in a blue sky filled with bursting celebratory sky rockets.
Walk to the Yellow Line, and board a train to Aviamotornaya.
Aviamotornaya is an excellent example of a station designed in the more
modern style. Simplicity however, does not equate with lack of style.
Here we find an uncluttered look enhanced with touches of luxury in the
decorative gold canopy and the silver sculptures at each end of the
Board a train and ride to Chkalovskaya
and walk to Kurskaya on the Brown or Circle
line. Kurskaya station boasts a hall of greater simplicity than many on
the Circle line, flanked by marble columns separated by flattened
arches leading to the trains on either side. In the centre of the hall
of escalators, a huge vase decorated with intricate reliefs reaches for
Walk to Kurskaya on the dark blue
line. Board a train and ride to Ploschad Revolutsii
on the dark blue line. Ploschad Revolutsii was opened on 13 March 1938.
It was constructed as a "palace of the people" in the first section of
the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya line. Conceived by Dushkin, the hall has a
vaulted ceiling lined by marble arches. The columns form niches which
contain 76 bronze sculptures depicting the creators of the new
socialist order: collective farm workers, factory workers and miners,
soldiers and sailors, parents and children, ordinary citizens of the
USSR. These figures were made by Manzier, a sculptor popular during the
Stalin era. The station has a distinct military flavour even though it
was opened well before the outbreak of the war. This recurring theme of
a threat to the USSR was used by the state to justify Stalin's myriad
purges. His reign of terror was a fact of Soviet life during the period
that this station was under construction.
The tour ends at Ploschad Revolutsii.
From here, one can continue on the dark blue line to Ismailovsky
Park to visit the Vernisazh craft market (open Saturday
and Sunday), visit Lenin's mausoleum (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,
Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 1 PM) or one may exit the metro to visit
Red Square, GUM, and the new Ohotny Riad underground shopping complex.
Other stations of interest:
Krasnopresnenskaya on the Circle
line, dedicated to the revolutionary period 1905-1917, the name means
Red (bloody) Presnaya (an area of the city). The walls are decorated
with plaster frescoes depicting the valiant struggles of the partisans.
Before Perestroika, there was a huge statue of Stalin at the end of the
station is a transfer point
between three Metro lines and a train station. The station on the
Circle line is decorated with mosaic panels dedicated to the history of
the Bolshevik movement and the brotherhood between the peoples of
Ukraine and Russia. Various panels depict: the first Bolshevik
newspaper "eeskra" (Fire), Kalinin, Pushkin, friendship between Ukraine
and Russia, the battle of Poltave (Peter l), and the 1654 treaty
between Ukraine and Russia.
Park Cultury was the first station
to be opened, in 1935. It commemorates Culture (musical, physical,
artistic) in Soviet life. Frescoes depict such activities as: dance,
skating, music, chess, Gorky, tennis, etc.
Cheestiye Prudee was Stalin's
station during the Great Patriotic War. It was convenient for him as it
was situated near the military headquarters.
This tour was put together in 2001 by Patricia Primeau, for
use by the staff of the Embassy of Canada in Moscow. Please feel free
to use it when you visit Moscow.
was compiled from the following sources:
Métro de Moscou, Editions Planeta, Moscou 1980;
Moscow, The Rough Guide, by Dan Richardson, 1998;
Great Moscow Guide 850, Publishing House Exim, Moscovski