To compliment the amazing array of architecture on Moscow’s streets, one need only look underground for even more. Moscow’s metro stations are stunningly beautiful for something as mundane as a subway platform. Not only is it the busiest metro system outside of Asia, it is also one of the world’s deepest (a fact you realise during the vertigo-inducing steep escalator trip down!)
Built under the iron-fisted command of Stalin during the Soviet era, the extravagant designs are unique to every station. Each one seeming to tell a different story without holding back on exquisite details.
Most of the best examples can be found on the Brown Circle line, so we took this loop and kept getting on and off the train to have a look. Arguably the most famous is Ploshchad Revolyutsii. Named after Revolution Square situated directly above it, the station features marble arches flanked with bronze statues. One of them is a dog that accompanies a frontier guard. It is said that rubbing the dog’s nose brings good luck. Lucky dog!
In between the regular rushes of locals passing through, there were brief opportunities to capture the empty grand scale of each one. Not only were the decorations and art on the walls amazing, the ceilings and lighting were equally brilliant.
With countless mosaics, bas-reliefs, friezes and marble featured throughout, Russia’s proud history was immortalised for all to see. From images of agriculture and industry to warfare and military victories.
Back up on ground level, we went from one extreme to another (after a lazy picnic lunch in a nice park). The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics showcases the proud achievements of the Russian Space Agency, especially during the space-era of the 50s and 60s and specifically dedicated to Yuri Gagarin; the first man in space.
Built to mark the 20th anniversary of his famous orbit, it is topped with the Monument to the Conquerors of Space. With a rocket shooting high up into the reflected sky, it is epic in all senses of the word!
Nearby is VDNKh, a permanent general purpose trade show and amusement park. Since we visited on a weekend, it was crowded with families out enjoying the sunshine.
Strolling through Gorky Park, it seemed that all Moscovites were out and about. So many rollorbladers who were clearly ice-skaters getting ready for the upcoming winter fun. As the sun set, hundreds of people gathered along the riverfront for a massive group dance! A unique sight for us, but certainly a normal Sunday outing for many!
You’d be surprised just how much green space there is throughout the city, providing good opportunities to unwind from the sprawling concrete jungle.
Visited 7th to 8th September 2014.