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History and Art Shown in Moscow's Remarkable Train Stations

Posted by Gil Travel on Jun 3, 2019 4:16:00 PM

History and Art Shown in Moscows Remarkable Train Stations header

When we think about art or history, a city’s railway stations are now often something that comes to our minds. These places are veritable treasure troves of art and are a reflection of various historical periods in which people built them, reconstructed them, and adapted them to suit the modern era. Moscow became the center of Russia’s vast railroad network already in the 19th century, and you will find a myriad of fascinating stations – both in terms of its exterior and architectural style, and the interior decorations and artistic touch prevalent in each of them. Decorated with wonderful art, arches, marble columns, cut-glass chandeliers, gold-framed frescos, brass trims, various sorts of carvings, etc., these will remind you of nothing less than brilliant palaces. 


Constructed between 1844 and 1851, this is Moscow’s first train station, situated on Komsomolskaya Square. It connected Moscow and St Petersburg starting from 1851, while an identical station was built in St. Petersburg, called Moskovsky. Internationally, the trains from this station will take you to Tallinn and Helsinki. Its previous names are Peterburgsky, then Nikolayevsky, and a few years after the Russian Imperial Romanov family was executed in 1918 by the Bolsheviks, they renamed the station to Oktyabrsky terminal and the railway to October railway, in honor of the October Revolution. The brilliant station was designed by Konstantin Thon, who followed the design of the sister-station, Moskovsky. The interior was renovated in 1950 and in 1972. You’ll see here an elegant clocktower set in a wonderful combination of tall windows, Italianate details, pilasters, and rustication.


You’ll find one of Moscow’s most beautiful and one of the world’s most famous stations, the Mayakovskaya station, 33m beneath the surface, on the Zamoskvoretskaya Line in the Tverskoy District in central Moscow. The station opened in 1938 and was the first deep column station in the world. Mayakovskaya had an air raid shelter during World War II, and it was used as a command post for the city’s anti-aircraft regiment. 

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The pre-World War II Stalinist Architecture and Art Deco station was the work of architect Alexey Dushkin who based it on the vision of Soviet future as depicted by prominent Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. The station has thirty-five niches, white and gray marble walls, white and pink marble floors, columns with stainless steel and pink rhodonite, and thirty-four ceiling mosaics by Alexander Deyneka depicting ”24-Hour Soviet Sky”. When the second north exit with a new vestibule was built in 2005, it allowed the 35th mosaic to be seen as well. 


Opened in 1952, Novoslobodskaya, another beautiful station designed by Dushkin in the Tverskoy District – this one on the Koltsevaya Line – is located between two gorgeous stations, Belorusskaya and Prospekt Mira, both of which deserve visits of their own. The architect designed the station to resemble an underground crypt, and he planned it around thirty-two stained glass panels, which are the work of several renowned artists. The panels have an intricate brass border and are placed into the pylons, while the pylons and the pointed arches between them feature brass molding and pinkish marble. That’s not all, as the station also takes great pride in its sophisticated chandeliers, a mosaic by Pavel Korin called "Peace throughout the World", and an impressive vestibule with a grand portico.


This must-see station on the Arbatsko–Pokrovskaya line was built in 1953 to replace an older station that was damaged in a German bomb attack in 1941. This older station wasn’t permanently closed as planned, however, but it became part of the Filyovskaya line. This was the Cold War time, and Arbatskaya was meant to serve as a bomb shelter, especially if there was a nuclear attack, so it was built much deeper and included larger stations to serve as shelters. Designed by Leonid Polyakov, Valentin Pelevin, and Yury Zenkevich, it was built 41m underground, while its 250m platform is Moscow’s second-longest. The station features square and low pylons with red marble, an ornate high vaulted ceiling decorated with chandeliers, reliefs, and brackets, as well as the elliptical, instead of the more usual circular design, for the main tunnel’s cross-section. 


On the Koltsevaya Line between the beautiful Park Kultury and Krasnopresnenskaya stations in Moscow’s  Dorogomilovo District, you’ll find another masterpiece. Kiyevskaya was opened in 1954, while the design for it by Yevgeny Katonin, Vadim Skugarev, and Georgy Golubev was chosen among more than seventy entries in an open competition in Ukraine. Walking through Kievskaya, you’ll see a square and low pylons with white marble, famous mosaics by A.V. Myzin created to commemorate the union between Russia and Ukraine, an intricate gold-colored trim decorating the mosaics and the arches between pylons, and a portrait of Vladimir Lenin. In 2006, thanks to an international art exchange, Kiyevskaya got a reproduction of an Art Nouveau Paris Metro entrance by Hector Guimard, while the Pairs’ Madeleine station is decorated with a piece of art by Ivan Lubennikov.

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Topics: World Travel