When you think of your morning commute, intricate artwork, soaring ceilings, and amazing mosaics probably don’t come to mind. But if you visit Moscow your entire perception of public transportation is sure to change!
In Moscow, the metro is more than just a form of transportation, it’s a work of art in and of itself. In fact, Moscow’s subway is considered the most beautiful in the world and 44 of the stations are listed as cultural heritage sites. When you visit Russia’s vibrant capital you can’t miss out on experiencing the metro, which is the beating heart of this busy city. Here’s a guide to 7 stunning metro stations in central Moscow that we think you need to see!
Kiyevskaya station is located on the Circle Line and is an excellent place to start your tour of Moscow’s metro stations. Soviet statesman Nikita Khrushchev personally oversaw its construction in the 1950s and it truly is an underground palace! Kiyevskaya features marble and granite décor and 18 mosaic panels which detail the history of Russia’s relationship with Ukraine between 1654-1917.
Hop back on the train and go a few stops further on the Circle Line to your next stop: Belorusskaya station. With its beautiful marble ceilings showing mosaic panels illustrating life in Belarus, you’ll feel more like you’re in a cathedral rather than a public transport station. Look to the skies when you visit this one!
For your next stop you’ll need to detour off the Circle line for a moment, but trust us it’s worth it! Mayakovskaya was without a doubt one of our absolute favourite stations. A true Art Deco masterpiece, this station forgoes heavy pillars for slender columns, giving it the feel of a large, airy hall and not an underground hub. There are numerous mosaics along the ceiling which depict Soviet life and popular Soviet themes.
Back on the Ciricle Line, be sure to make a stop at Novoslobodskaya. This station is unique from its sister stops because it houses 32 stained-glass panels designed by famous Russian artist Pavel Korin. The panels make you feel like you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland or have stepped into a magical underwater kingdom.
At first glance, Prospekt Mira station might not seem as grand as the others you’ve visited so far, but that’s only because its grandeur is a bit more subtle. Due to its proximity to the nearby Botanical Gardens of Moscow State University, the station used to be called Botanichesky Sad (sad/сад means garden in Russian) and still remains true to the botanical themes. You’ll see plenty of floral marble décor at this gorgeous stop!
Komsomolskaya is probably one of Moscow’s metro stations that is most worth visiting. This is one of the city’s busiest stations and also probably the closest to what you’d imagine an underground palace to look like! With 68 marble columns, towering ceilings, and elaborate chandeliers and ceiling mosaics, it’s easy to get drawn in and spend hours admiring this stunning station.
The last stop on your tour of Moscow’s central metro stations is sure to take your breath away. Taganskaya stands apart from its fellow stations with its medieval architecture, bright blue panels, and old-style art featuring profiles of heroes of the Soviet Army. You’ll find sailors, tank operators, and soldiers in abundance here surrounded by victorious banners and bayonets.
This circle tour is a great introduction to some of Moscow’s most beautiful metros and we hope you enjoyed reading it! Hopefully it will give you a new appreciation for how something as mundane as a train station can be transformed into a breath-taking work of art.
A FEW NOTES ABOUT RIDING THE METRO
When to go: Moscow has one of the busiest public transport systems in the world, so any time of day you choose to ride will be slightly hectic. However, avoid rush hours and try to visit during ‘low’ times, which fall between 11am and 2pm.
Buying your ticket: When buying your metro ticket we recommend using one of the automated machines to make your purchase. In our experience employees at the ticket counters rarely speak English, but the machines do have an English option which will make life a lot easier! These accept card or cash, and a single metro ticket will cost you 55rubles.
Being safe: Moscow’s metro is pretty safe compared to public transport in Paris and other major cities, but it’s important to remember that you’re in a big city so getting pickpocketed is still a valid concern. Don’t be overly cautious, but keep an eye on your stuff and make sure you don’t leave valuables in your pockets where they’re easily accessible. Most stations have a small police/security booth, so there is a tight eye on security, but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down! Otherwise, traveling on the metro is fun and enjoyable.
Let us know in the comments section if you’ve visited Moscow’s metro stations and which ones were your favourites.