Moscow's Metro System Isn't Just Functional, It's Beautiful

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This red M is always a welcome sign after a long day of walking around Moscow
This red M is always a welcome sign after a long day of walking around Moscow

The first picture I ever saw of Moscow’s metro system, before I ever moved there, blew me away. It showed a hallway jam-packed with people moving along in a slow-moving ripple, like an overturned tin of sardines. My eyes grew wide with disbelief. Surely this must be an aberration? Maybe there was a city-wide event going on that day? The metro couldn’t possibly be that busy. Could it?

A busy night in the metro
A busy night in the metro

Oh yes it could. Every single day at rush hour. And yes, also after special events in the city.

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Moscow’s metro system is a work of art

Moscow’s metro, however, isn’t just a busy people-moving mechanism. It’s also an impressively ornate work of art. And every metro station is decorated and designed differently. If you are so inclined, you can even take a paid tour of Moscow’s most impressive metro stations. Or you can just buy a metro card and explore the stations on your own. It helps of course if you are able to read a little Russian, since there are very few signs in English. But getting lost is all part of the adventure of travel, right?

No, those are not real children.
No, those are not real children.
Such a pretty ceiling
Such a pretty ceiling

It is also very affordable

Not only is Moscow’s metro beautiful, it’s also affordable. At 50 rubles a ride, it’s around .85 cents USD. There are also other options for ticket purchasing if you plan to ride the metro more than once. The more rides you buy at one time, the cheaper each ride becomes. My personal favorite was the 3 month card that lets you ride as much as you like for 3 months. It’s an expensive upfront purchase, but is much less expensive in the long run and allows you the freedom to explore all of Moscow and its metro stations to your heart’s content.

Mosaics and other ornate details are just a normal part of Moscow metro stations
Mosaics and other ornate details are just a normal part of Moscow metro stations

It is very reliable

Not only is the Moscow metro beautiful and affordable, but it’s also reliable and efficient. With a daily passenger rate of between 7 and 9 million riders, it has to work seamlessly. And it usually does. Occasionally a drunk will fall onto the tracks (seriously), or a water pipe will break, as happened when I lived there, but for the number of passengers it moves per day, it’s incredibly reliable. Trains come on average of every 90 seconds during rush hour, and you never have to wait long for a train to arrive. At some of the outer stations, away from the city center, you might have to wait a few minutes, but trains still come every 5 minutes or so. After getting used to Moscow’s metro, metros in other major cities will seem amazingly slow.

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It’s also an incredibly fabulous place for people watching

You really never know just what or who you will see when you enter a metro station in Moscow. From high fashion to low fashion to animals (there are stray dogs who regularly ride the metro) and everything in between, there is always something to be amazed at when you are riding the metro.

I was definitely impressed at this man's bravery. Carrying this many balloons through a busy metro is seriously a feat.
I was definitely impressed at this man’s bravery. Carrying this many balloons through a busy metro is seriously a feat. (If you’ve regularly ridden this metro, you know what I mean.) I enjoyed the pop of color, though!

There are many reasons to visit Moscow, and the impressive metro system is just one of them.

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Have you been to Moscow? What was your experience like?

 

 

 

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