It was January 10, 1863 when the first subway line in the world was inaugurated. It was the mayor of London of the time, Charles Pearson, who challenged the country’s engineers to find a system that would allow them to travel around the city without having to undergo the constant slowdowns caused by road traffic that already made the English capital unlivable.
It was the company called Metropolitan Railway Company that took care of it and that is why the vehicle is still called the underground today. At first, the few kilometers that separated Paddington from Farringdon street were enough, and over the next twenty years the so-called “circle” was built, the first real line of the city.
It was a resounding success and soon many other metropolises in the world began to work hard to equip the historic centers and then the suburbs with underground train lines capable of guaranteeing rapid travel to a large number of people. The first capital on the European continent to inaugurate its subway was Budapest, in 1896, the first, among other things, to equip all its means of electric traction, where previously they were moved by the power of steam.
But the most beautiful of all is unanimously considered that of Moscow, whose first line only came into operation in 1935 between Sokolniki and Park Kultury. However, the architectural care with which the first stations were built was such as to have made them real monuments worthy of the specific visit of tourists.
A trip to the Russian capital cannot be said to be complete without admiring the beauty of the main stops. Twelve lines for 321 kilometers and 185 stations, each of which reflects the construction peculiarities of the period in which they were built and that is why there are scholars who have defined the Moscow metro as a true compendium of the artistic history of the city.
Establishing the ranking among the most deserving of a visit is difficult, even if most agree on the first five: the palm of the best goes to Komsomolskaya, on the circular line, with bronze chandeliers, marble arches and eight mosaic panels in which they are depicted Russian soldiers; followed by Novoslobodskaya, known for the 32 colored glass panels made by the artist Pavel Korin: on six of them different professions are represented, including intellectual activities, while on the others decorative elements of geometric shape and the celestial vault are depicted
In third place in this special ranking is Mayakovskaya, a masterpiece in Art Deco style, the result of the ingenuity of the architect Alexei Dushkin, characterized by the presence of very elegant and very modern (for the time: it was 1938) steel columns.
Following the Teatralnaya, the station that leads to the Bolshoi Theater, Red Square and the Kremlin: extraordinary porcelain reliefs depicting the different arts that were dedicated to the times of the Soviet Union, so much so that dancers and musicians were depicted coming from the seven former republics now autonomous.
Finally, the Kievskaya, in marble and granite with 18 panels of mosaics and bas-reliefs focused on the history of the relationship between Russia and Ukraine, which at the time of its construction were still united.
Enough to spend the first few days in Moscow underground: which, if you arrive there in the middle of winter, is not an option to be underestimated.