CCTV9英语新闻:82-year-old metro system showcases Moscow's history

It’s no surprise that one of the largest cities in the world is also home to one of the most extensive and busy subway lines. But unlike many other metro networks around the globe, Moscow has taken great pains to decorate its station in fanciful art, showcasing both the country’s history and its architecture.

With stations that seem more like museums, elaborate marble walls, mosaics and chandeliers make a trip on the Metro a must for all visitors.

Even a single ride on Moscow Metro will take you through Russian history and architecture, with the past eight decades unfolding before your eyes.

The capital’s Metro system dates back to 1931. The stations range in design, from granite structures to modern iron and glass.

Its unique art depicts the images of the times they were built in, revealing the tastes, hopes and ideas of their creators.

Circle Line is one of Moscow’s most breathtaking stations. The ceiling is covered in eight large mosaics by Pavel Korin, who was inspired by Stalin’s speech at the Moscow Parade of 1941 urging soldiers to keep fighting despite the tragic losses of World War II.

The idolisation of Russia’s historic battles, and the open space of the station gives it an almost cathedral-like atmosphere.

Anton Solovyov, Moscow resident, said, "I can compare it to the metro in Prague. They also have quite a lot of historical design elements, but not so many modern ones. In our metro this is combined, the historic and modern."

Konstantin Cherkassky, director of the Moscow Metro Museum, said, "How our Moscow metropolitan differs from others is that during its planning it was decided that the metro stations should have an aesthetically pleasing appearance, because people spend part of their lives there, so naturally the space surrounding them has to be nice, and not dull."

However, the religious and superstitious character of Russians initially made them wary of going deep underground.

A resident said, "People did not understand that such beauty was meant for everyday enjoyment. They used the metro on the weekends, looked around, got excited and went back in an over-crowded tram. Therefore, during the first months after the opening, the metro was used for excursion purposes."

But it now transports 9 million passengers every week day, and continues to be one of the city’s main tourist attractions. Apart from being a convenient mode of travel, it is also offers lessons in Russian history, art and culture.