© WorldTravelStories.com, 2001-2012 - No part of this site may be reproduced or copied without written agreement of the author. Disclaimer
|MOSCOW, ST-PETERSBURG, JUNE 2002 -
Whenever in a big city, I like to travel with local transport : trains,
buses, taxi, and metro ! Most metro systems look more or less the same,
but not the ones in Moscow and St.-Petersburg ! These subways have style,
and making a trip on the metro and getting off at all the stations an
excursion on its own !
First of all, the metro system is deep, very deep... It takes a couple of minutes of steep escalators to reach the platforms. And every escalator has an "attendant" in a little booth, and he or she can speed up or slow down the escalator, to adjust for the crowds. The reason these subways are so deep below the surface is that they were designed to resist under heavy bombing conditions. Also, they were equiped as shelters in case of war. Actually, there is a lot down there, far more than you can see as a commuter on the metro... see the article Mysteries under Moscow for more information. What is real and what is fiction ? I cannot tell, but one thing I can tell you : I was highly impressed by this metro system !
All stations are beautifully decorated, with statues, marble, mosaics, etc... Getting around in the maze of lines and stations (everything in cyrillic, including your map) is not that obvious, and walking distances are great down there. But you can't get lost, simply try to backtrack from where you came in emergency situations... Some other remarkable fact about this metro is that it is so well maintained (no "tags" found anywhere).
From above the ground subway stations are often impressive too. In the tunnels and underpasses, often whole "shopping streets" with little stalls can be found. A good resource for drinks, snacks, pirated CD-ROMS's, and souvenirs...
More pictures of the metro can be found on following links :