The Moscow Metro is a rapid transit system serving Moscow. The first line, from Okhotny Ryad to Smolenskaya, was opened to the public on 15 May 1935 at 07:00. It was 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) long and included 13 stations. The line connected Sokolniki and Park Kultury. The latter branch was extended westwards to a new station (Kiyevskaya) in March 1937, the first Metro line crossing the Moskva River over the Smolensky Metro Bridge.

SovietEraMuseum present unique photos of Moscow Metro from the our archive.

The beginning of the Cold War led to the construction of a deep section of the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line. The stations on this line were planned as shelters in the event of nuclear war. After finishing the line in 1953 the upper tracks between Ploshchad Revolyutsii and Kiyevskaya were closed, and later reopened in 1958 as a part of the Filyovskaya Line. In the further development of the Metro the term “stages” was not used any more, although sometimes the stations opened in 1957–1959 are referred to as the “fifth stage”.

Other stations, too, were supplied with tight gates and life-sustenance systems to function as nuclear shelters.

During the late 1950s the architectural extravagance of new Metro stations was toned down, and decorations at some stations (such as VDNKh and Alexeyevskaya) were simplified by comparison with the original plans. This was done on the orders of Nikita Khrushchev, who favoured more spartan decoration. A typical layout (which quickly became known as Sorokonozhka–”centipede”, from early designs with 40 concrete columns in two rows) was developed for all new stations and the stations were built to look almost identical, differing from each other only in colours of the marble and ceramic tiles. Most stations were built with simpler, less-costly technology; this was not always appropriate, and resulted in utilitarian design. For example, walls with cheap ceramic tiles were susceptible to train vibration and some tiles eventually fell off. It was not always possible to replace the missing tiles with the ones of the same color, which eventually led to variegated parts of the walls. Not until the mid-1970s was the architectural extravagance restored and original designs again popular. However, the newer design of “centipede” stations (with 26 more-widely-spaced columns) continued to dominate.

And Moscow undeground in 1989. Cool photo from Perestroyka times.

 

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