How do you celebrate your birthday when it is -30 degrees outside? You go down into Stalin’s secret bunker and go for a ride on Moscow’s circle line.
I decided to have a Russian weekend for my birthday in February. Seeing as it was in the middle of winter and -30 outside we decided to visit the Bunker 42 Cold War Museum and afterwards do a tour of the circle metro and all its fabulous stations.
The Koltsevaya Line (Circle Line)
After a lovely lunch we headed off to the metro for our circle line tour.
The Moscow Metro Opened in 1935 with one 11-kilometre line and 13 stations, it was the first underground railway system in the Soviet Union. As of 2011, the Moscow Metro has 185 stations and its route length is 305.7 kilometres.
The Moscow Metro is the world’s second most rapid transit system after Tokyo’s twin subway. The Koltsevaya Line (Circle Line) is a railway line of the Moscow Metro. The line was built in 1950-1954 encircling the central Moscow.
Of all the lines, the ring remains the most famous, mostly due to its notable stations built at the height of Stalinist Architecture. Each of the twelve stands out in their own right, and it is these stations that we went exploring.
Opened on 1 January 1950 this station was built with the post-war flamboyance in mind; the overall design is based on the traditional Russian motives. The central feature of the station are profile marble carvings of various World War II Red Army & Navy servicemen each dedicated to a group such as pilots, tank crews or sailors.
The panels facing the central hall are on a blue background, whilst the platform hall panels are monochromatic. Lighting comes from a set of 12 gilded chandeliers in the central hall with the same blue center.
This station was designed by architects G. Zakharkov and Z. Chernysheva who were awarded the Stalin Prize in 1950 for the design. Kurskaya is a rare deep column station built in the 1950s style of Stalinist Architecture.
In the centre of the station is a large open space with a large vault overhead that rests on four pillars from which a staircase leads off as a transfer to two other stations.
An interesting detail of the station is the lack of sculptures and artwork, instead however this is compensated for by small details such as hidden lamps in the niches of the vault, which is covered by a bronze frieze symbolizing the dawn and blossoming of Mother Russia. There are eight elegant chandeliers hanging from the roof.