Photographer's Note

Over the course of the coming week I intend to post several images of the very familiar and oft photographed Moscow Metro stations. In order to get shots where the stations were empty I had to rise at 5 in the morning and rush to the nearest station from my hotel, which was Smolenskaya station. I had identified the stations I wanted to photograph beforehand and hoped that I would arrive before it got too busy. You literally have a window of about 30 mins before the stations start to go crazy with people as the city comes to life.

It was on 21 March 1933 that the Soviet government approved a plan for the first 10 underground railway lines with a total route length of 80 km. These first lines were built using a plan designed by Lazar Kaganovich. The Moscow Metro construction engineers consulted with their counterparts from the London Underground. However, the NKVD (the secret police) arrested numerous British engineers for espionage because they had gained an in-depth knowledge of Moscow’s physical layout. These engineers were given a show trial and deported in 1933.

This image is of Mayakovskaya station and is one of the most beautiful and most photographed stations in Moscow. It was built in 1938 and was named after a famous Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. It quite a deep station at 33 meters (100ft) below street level. It was used as a bomb shelter during WWII and in 1941 there was a meeting on the station organized by Stalin himself. His speech was broadcast on radio so that all the Soviet people could hear that Moscow was still intact and not willing to surrender.

The style of the station's interior is called Stalin neoclassic. Its unique style resulted in it receiving an award on the international exhibition in New York in 1938. Today it's still considered unique, and since 1980 the station has an architectural heritage status.


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Additional Photos by Michael Wright (mjw364) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 630 W: 7 N: 391] (1466)
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