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Buy a ticket on the Moscow metropolitan transportation system and it’s like buying a museum pass.

Deep below the streets of Moscow is quite an unexpected treasure.

Glide down steep escalators and you will find a palatial beauty underground including architecture art, and sculpture.

Where a Muscovite or tourist might expect dark utility down under. Instead they find color, light and decor befitting an imperial palace.

Stations are usually deep and reached by long escalators. The deepest station is 276 feet below city streets.

“All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow,” Leo Tolstoy had Anna Karenina say.

If the Russian writer had included the word color in his description of the beauty of life you would have what you find below Moscow in hundreds of its metro stations.

Opened in 1935 with 13 stations, as of 2017, the system has 209 stations and is the fifth longest systems in the world.

It is a dated ideological beauty that showcases Socialist Realism in public art.

More of a method than a style it was influenced by Nicolai Chermyshevsky who was Lenin’s favorite nihilist and who among other things said, “Art is no use unless it serves politics.”

And so it is that Moscow’s subway platforms combine aesthetics, technology and socialist ideology to illustrate Stalinist’s values and views of socialist society.

Technology includes a variety of newer and more dated subway cars powered by an under-running 825 volt third rail.

View an old Moscow Metro video
Steep Escalator Down Into Station.Stairs or Escalators?Station ArrivalBronze ScuptureVent DecorArrivalSonia and I pose on Moscow subwayStation SignOld  and NewStation SignPalatialOrnate Column