The underground palaces of the Moscow metro

The metro is not just an easy way to get around Moscow. It is one of the highlights of the city! Not because the metro runs every 80 seconds during rush hour. Not because there are more than 200 metro stations. It’s about its unique architecture. Many subway stations are built as underground palaces. Stalin had these palaces built for the people in Soviet times. Including chandeliers, art and all of that. Some stations have a specific theme, others seem to be ready to host a ball. So if you will be using the underground anyway, make sure to make some extra stops every now and then.

Moskou | Moscow | Rusland | Russia | The Orange Backpack
Metro van Moskou | Metro of Moscow | Rusland | Russia | The Orange Backpack

A selection of the most beautiful metro stations

#1 Komsomolskaya station. This is perhaps the most kitschy station of all. The style is a combination between Baroque and Soviet. The result? A yellow station with white ornaments and chandeliers. The mosaics on the ceiling depict famous Russian battles.

#2 Prospekt Mira station. This station is the right after Komsomolskaya, so combine the two in one visit. This underground palace is characterised by white marble and richly decorated reliefs. A new stamp was even issued on the occasion of its opening.

#3 Novoslobodskaya station. The stained glass windows of this metro station are a must-see. This stop is the first one after Prospekt Mira. So you might want to visit these three together.

#4 Mayakovskaya Station. It’s named after the Russian writer Mayakovski, but otherwise this station has nothing to do with literature. Aviation is the theme of the art in here. You can see the artworks in the small domes between the columns. During the Second World War this station was an air raid shelter and a hospital.

#5 Kievskaya Station. This stop is named after the Ukrainian capital Kiev. Expect white, gold and mosaic all over the place. At the end is a portrait of none other than Lenin.

#6 Plostsjad Revoljoetsi Station. This stop near the Red Square is perhaps the most famous of the Moscow metro. The station is very large, so take some time to walk stroll around. The sculptures and reliefs have the Russian Revolution as their central theme.

#7 Elektrozavodskaya Station. This is one of the few stations that was finished during the Second World War. It was then the 29th station of the Moscow metro. The name translates to Electricity Factory, referring to the factories on the riverbank nearby. Electricty is therefore also the theme of the design. You’ll immediately get how the designers used this design when looking at the huge illuminated ceiling.

#8 Taganskaya Station. The central colour for this design was blue for a change. It is the background of the white ornaments and is used in the chandeliers.

Metro van Moskou | Metro of Moscow | Rusland | Russia | The Orange Backpack
Metro van Moskou | Metro of Moscow | Rusland | Russia | The Orange Backpack
Metro van Moskou | Metro of Moscow | Rusland | Russia | The Orange Backpack
Metro van Moskou | Metro of Moscow | Rusland | Russia | The Orange Backpack

Tips for the Moscow metro

#1 Download an online map of the metro network. It’s large and complex, so it’s good to always have a map with you on your phone.

#2 Some metro stations are so deep under the ground that the escalators are extremely long. That doesn’t mean it takes that long to get our of the station though. The escalators are extremely fast. And yes, that is sometimes a bit scary.

#3 You are allowed to take photos in the metro stations. Just bear in mind that millions of people use the metro every day, so don’t expectpicture perfect empty stations.

#4 Consider a guided tour to the subways. I would definitely consider this if I go back to Moscow!

#5 Avoid the rush hour. The millions of millions of people will squeeze you directly from the metro to the exit and you’ll hardly see anything from the station. Bear in mind the metro does not run at night, so that’s not an option to avoid the crowd.

#6 The stops are written in the Russian alphabet. So make sure you not only know the names in your own alphabet, but also in Russian.

#7 In the subway to the center the announcements are made by a man and the way back by a woman. On the circle line, the man is annoucing the metro stops on the metro clockwise; the woman counterclockwise.

#8 There are no zones. So once you’ve purchased a ticket, you can travel around the entire metro network for as long as you want.