New Strogino Station
Muscovites who live in the city's Strogino neighborhood received a nice gift from the City of Moscow for Orthodox Christmas -- a new subway station. The Strogino station is the 176th station of the Moscow Metro. The station has a modern design, unlike many Soviet-era stations. However, the benches and floors of the stations are decorated with expensive wood and granite. Combining functionality with luxury is a well-known tradition in the Moscow subway. If several million people have to spend a few hours each day underground, why not make their experience more pleasant?
The idea of building the metro was conceived on June 15, 1931 by the Communist Party. The first trains started running between Sokolniki, Park Kulturi, Okhotny Ryad, and Smolenskaya (the "red" line) on May 15, 1935, carrying 177,000 passengers daily. Today, the Moscow Metro is 292.9 km (182.5 miles) long and carries over ten million passengers a day. Statistics show that the metro carried 3.14 billion passengers in 1994. The trains leave every 40 seconds during rush hour, and every 3 minutes during later hours, travelling at 55-60 miles an hour. The stations are open from 5 am until 1:30 am, and it costs just 17 rubles (70 cents U.S.) to go anywhere in the city. Some of the stations are connected by a 4.2 mile monorail. Many foreign employees and executives who live in Moscow don't own cars and swear by using the metro in their daily routine.
Map of the Moscow Metro in 2007
The Strogino station has an elevator for the handicapped, and shares one mile of its tracks with an automobile tunnel. Strogino is one of the least deep stations in the system. Moscow Metro lines can form up to four layers of tunnels in certain parts of the city, and some stations are located as deep as 86 meters (282 feet) underground. Many stations feature expensive stones, woodwork and metals, as well as monuments and mosaics depicting periods of Russian and Soviet history.
There is a project known as Metro-2 -- a system of tunnels and rails that used to connect the Kremlin with key locations in the city, including bomb shelters and bunkers for Joseph Stalin. Since Stalin's death, the system hasn't had practical use. Today, if you are willing to pay a few hundred dollars to so-called Moscow "diggers", they will take you on an illegal tour of the "secret" railroad. There are also regular tours that cover fewer underground attractions but won't get you in trouble.
If you have never been to Moscow, make sure to include the metro on the list of must-see attractions! Avoiding Moscow's notorious traffic jams by taking the metro will also save you hours of commuting time.
Park Pobedy Station
One of the newer metro trains
Links to other Russia Blog posts related to the Moscow Metro: