Atlantic Cities
Postcard

The Moscow Metro Is Like a Gorgeous Russian History Museum

The Moscow metro is one of the most extensive and heavily traveled subway systems in the world, transporting about 9 million people around the city each day.

But it also serves as a sort of museum of Russian history. Opened in 1935, the marble walls, high ceilings, stained glass, mosaics and chandeliers were a testament to the values of Joseph Stalin and his Communist party. Ironically enough, while the stations were built and designed with Soviet labor, the main engineering work was done by British workers.

Stalin ordered the arrest of many British engineers on the project for espionage, because they had gained so much inside knowledge about the city's subway system. The engineers were eventually deported and whatever business climate existed between the two countries was effectively killed.

The system is currently under expansion, and is expected to grow an additional 90 miles by 2020. That would make it the third largest subway system in the world, behind Beijing and Shanghai

Below, via Reuters, a look into the average day on Moscow's subway system: 


People walk near the entrance to Arbatskaya metro station, which was built in 1953, in Moscow August 17, 2013. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)


People walk through Prospekt Mira metro station in Moscow August 14, 2013. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson) 


Two men in matching shirts travel down an escalator at a metro station in Moscow August 12, 2013. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)


A woman works at a news-stand in the Moscow metro August 14, 2013. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)


A woman walks on the platform as a train arrives at Mayakovskaya metro station, which was built in 1938, in Moscow August 17, 2013. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson) 


A ceiling panel is seen in Novoslobodskaya metro station, which was built in 1952, in Moscow August 17, 2013. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson) 


A stained glass panel is seen in Novoslobodskaya metro station, which was built in 1952, in Moscow, August 17, 2013. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson) 


Men use their mobile phones as they stand in front of a mosaic depicting former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin at Biblioteka Imeni Lenina metro station in Moscow August 13, 2013. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)


A woman touches the nose of the "lucky dog" statue at the Ploshchad Revolyutsii Metro station in Moscow, August 14, 2013. Commuters believe that rubbing the nose of the bronze dog statue will bring them good luck. (REUTERS/Phil Noble)


A woman reads a magazine in Chistye Prudy metro station in Moscow August 16, 2013. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson) 


A woman and a man hold their heads as they walk toward a train at a Russian Metro station in Moscow August 11, 2013. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)


A train driver pulls into Biblioteka Imeni Lenina metro station in Moscow August 14, 2013. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)


A map of the Moscow metro system is seen behind a poster warning passengers to avoid the closing doors on a metro train in Moscow August 17, 2013 (REUTERS/Phil Noble)


Passengers travel on a late night train on the metro in Moscow August 11, 2013. (REUTERS/Phil Noble)


Two women read a book as they sit in a train on the metro in Moscow August 10, 2013. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)


Passengers travel on a late night train on the metro in Moscow August 11, 2013. (REUTERS/Phil Noble) 


A couple embraces on a train on the metro in Moscow August 17, 2013. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)


Passengers walk down a concourse at a metro station in Moscow August 10, 2013. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)


Two couples embrace as they travel on a train on the metro in Moscow August 10, 2013. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)


Two police officers travel on a train at a metro station in Moscow August 15, 2013. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez) 


Passengers walk down a concourse at a metro station in Moscow August 10, 2013. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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