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The Moscow metro system (Московско метро) is truly fascinating – essential for the citizens and a must-see for tourists. I(Chris) have always been interested in exploring bus and train transit network, especially the maps and stations. So, this is exciting for me.

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Opened in 1935 with one 11-kilometre (6.8 mi) line running from Sokolniki to Park Kultury and 13 stations. As of 2016, it has 200 stations and its route length is 333.3 km. The average distance between stations is 1.7 km. 44 of the stations are national cultural heritage sites.

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It was one of the USSR’s most ambitious architectural projects and the artists and architects worked to design an infrastructure that embodied the ideological and technological success of socialism. With the reflective marble walls, high ceilings and grand chandeliers, this palatial underground environment reminded riders that their tax had been well spent.

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It was pure luck that on the weekend when I was there, the Shchusev State Museum of Architecture opened an exhibition of the original plans and photos of the Moscow Metro. Some photos of architectural drawings were taken from the exhibition which will have its own blog post later.

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This was my stop – the Komsomolskaya (Комсомо́льская) station which is noted for its being located under the busiest Moscow transport hub, – Leningradsky (St Petersburg, Estonia, Finland), Yaroslavsky (western terminal of the trans-Siberian railway) and Kazansky (Kazan, Yekaterinberg) railway terminals. How does the real platform compare to the artist’s impression ?

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The station and the square in front of the station vestibule was called Komsomolskaya to commemorate the Komsomol (All-Union Leninist Young Communist League) members who helped build the metro.

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The square was also named in 2003 as Tryokh vokzalov (Square of the three train stations). The capitals of the columns are decorated with the Komsomol’s badge “KNM”.

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I can certainly testify on its level of activity – even after 11pm, there were a steady flow of riders – many heading for the late night long distance train departures to far flung corners of Russia.

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Apparently, the station was designed to separate passengers leaving and arriving at the station.

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Hence, two galleries are built along the walls over the tracks with bridges spanning the station hall.

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One part of the station was opened in 1935 being one of the “first stage” stations.

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Designed by Dmitri Chechukin, he won the highest honor for workers in science and arts, the Stalin prize grade 1.

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At either end of the exit of the station are panels illustrating the labor of the Komsomol metro builders.

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The second part (Ring line station) was opened in 1952 and designed to impress first visitors of the capital city arriving at one of the three train stations. 34 arches resting on octagonal columns covered by blue grey and pink marble.

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Think of it as a subway station under a combo of Paddington+Euston+St Pancras railway stations or Grand Central + Penn stations.

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The station’s decor is based on Moscow baroque motifs used before the revolution in the Kazan railway station above it. Lenin bust at one end of the platform.

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So much history and artistry in the metro system, not to mention cleanliness and efficiency.

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This station has its own video with lounge music on the a Moscow Metro youtube channel.

More stations to come.

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