Secrets of Moscow Metro

Large transportation system, a beloved tourist attraction, a wonder of architecture and decoration

Moscow metro is a large transportation system, a beloved tourist attraction, a wonder of architecture and decoration. Here we will share with you some curious facts and coincidences in its history.

The Moscow metro was opened on May 15, 1935. Starting from the late 19th century, many engineers suggested their projects of the metro, but all of them were rejected for different reasons. The final push towards the start of the construction was the transport collapse in 1931, when all kinds of vehicles just got stuck in traffic, including the kings of the traffic — trams.

The section of the Sokolnicheskaya line from Sokolniki to Park Kultury was the first to be put into operation. Initially, metro tickets were of two colors, red and yellow, depending on the direction, and were valid for any number of rides within 35 minutes. Supposedly, the first metro passenger was Pyotr Latyshev, an employee of the Krasny Proletary factory. He bought his first ticket on May 15, 1935, on the Sokolniki station.

Today you can visit the Professional Center of the Moscow metro in the hall of the Vystavochnaya station to learn more about the principal transport of the capital. Besides, in the center you will find a variety of historical exhibits, including a collection of old tickets, models of stations and trains. However, the most interesting object is the interactive simulator for metro drivers. Now anyone can try their hand in driving a virtual metro train!

Architecture and Decoration

Even until now, the stations built during the first years of the history of metro are considered the most beautiful. Many of them gained recognition as outstanding objects of architecture. The general solemnity of the architecture of the Stalin era is reflected in the decorations made from expensive materials such as marble and granite. The mindset of those times was that the metro, like other public spaces, was supposed to become an underground palace for ordinary Soviet people, a symbol of the great future.

Mayakovskaya was decorated with mosaics by Alexander Deyneka, while the metal framing was made from fragments of an airship designed by Tsiolkovsky. Novoslobodskaya was adorned with beautiful stained glass panels made with the glass brought from Riga Cathedral. Novokuznetskaya finishing includes mosaics dedicated to the achievements of the Soviet industry and sports. After the war, memorial shields in the commemoration of the victory day were installed on the walls. According to an unconfirmed legend, the benches on Novokuznetskaya were brought here from the destroyed Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

A fragment of old 1935 lining was preserved on the Okhotny Ryad station during the restoration in 2007. You can see it in the spot where the first car stops, in the direction to "Bulvar Rokossovskogo."

The most interesting fact is that there are remains of ancient living organisms, some as old as 70 million years preserved in the natural stone used in the decorations. Most of them are various types of shellfish, corals and other invertebrates. Any passenger can see this curiosity: you can easily find a list of all paleontological objects on the Internet.

The construction of new stations did not stop even for one year, even during the Second World War. After Stalin's death, they issued the act "On Elimination of Excesses in Projects and Construction," and all the new stations were built following typical projects and decorated with cheaper materials: reinforced concrete, slate and aluminum instead of granite and marble. The first ground-level stations were opened: Kutuzovskaya, Studencheskaya. Later, in 1970–1980s, they started to add individual artistic solutions to typical projects.

Mayakovskaya was decorated with mosaics by Alexander Deyneka, while the metal framing was made from fragments of an airship designed by Tsiolkovsky

During the War

Even in times of war, the metro stopped working only for one day — on October 16, 1941, when the German army approached Moscow. The city was preparing for evacuation and the order was issued to destroy the metro as a strategic object too important to be left for the Nazis. The workers began to install mines and get the stations ready for flooding, to disassemble escalators and remove cars. Luckily, the order was recalled later the same evening, and the metro was opened the next morning.

In the following years, the deepest stations acted as bomb shelters that could hold up to 500,000 persons. There were stores, hairdressers and even a library in it. Besides, 217 babies were born in the metro during the years of war.

The construction of new stations continued in 1942, despite a deficit of materials. Before the end of war, seven new stations were put into operation: sections from the modern Teatralnaya to Avtozavodskaya and from Kurskaya to Partizanskaya.

The deepest stations acted as bomb shelters, that could hold up to 500,000 persons. There were stores, hairdressers and even a library in it. Besides, 217 babies were born in the metro during the years of war

Funny Myths and Scary Legends

There is one myth related to the Circle Line: they say that it wasn't planned, but during a meeting Stalin left a cup of coffee on the blueprint, which left a brown stain in the shape of a circle. No one dared to argue with the leader — and this is how the Circle Line was built. Indeed, the construction of the Circle Line began only in the late 1940s, but there is no evidence that it was by accident.

Another urban legend explains why the voice announcing the stations belongs to a man in the directions towards the center, and to a woman in the direction from the center. Supposedly, a male voice is associated with a strict boss and helps you concentrate on the way to work, while a female voice reminds us of home. But in reality, this system was invented to help blind people find their way around the metro easier.

One of the scariest metro-related stories says that prisoners were involved in the construction, many of whom died and were buried in the shafts. Psychics claim that the station Biblioteka Imeni Lenina has a bad aura, because it stands in the place of an old cemetery.

Metro 2

Many people heard the legend of the secret "Metro-2" built by Stalin. The myth says that the construction of this government line started in secret in 1935. It connected all the principal strategic objects, the Kremlin and Stalin's bunker. Allegedly, "Metro-2" would serve to evacuate top government officials in case of a war or a nuclear strike.

Before Tverskaya appeared, they planned to build Sovetskaya station between Teatralnaya and Mayakovskaya, but it was not finished and ultimately was turned into an underground headquarters of the Moscow Civil Defense. Some believe that it is one of the stations that make up "Metro-2". Today, you can see it in the section leading to Tverskaya station, if you look really closely. Some people say that Izmaylovsky Park station also leads to the Stalin's bunker. According to the legend, the central passage of the station was designed specifically to be used by the Soviet leader.

There is no actual proof that "Metro-2" exists. The pictures you can find on the Internet in fact depict maintenance facilities of our ordinary, everyday metro.

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