10 facts about Moscow Metro you didn't know
Moscow Metro - it is not just a transport facility but it is a world with its own history, legends and laws. Spasibo Tours team decided to collect some interesting but little-known facts about the capital's subway.
1. The idea to build a metro in Moscow first came at the end of the XIX century, and in 1875 was announced an idea to build a line from the Kurskiy railway stationvia the Lubyanka and Pushkinskaya Square to Maryina roscha. But this project wasn't realised, mostly because ofthe church opposition. Here is what one of the metropolitan bishops wrote to Moscow Metropolitan Innocent: "Is it possible to prevent this very sinful dream? Will not humiliate himself a man created in the image and likeness of God, who will descend into hell?". The official version of refuse construction of metro has become economically inexpediency.
2. The Soviet government did not want to get behind the main world's capitalist powers and start to think about the construction of subway in Moscow from the very 1917. The first project was commissioned in 1921 by the German company Siemens, in 1926 project was ready and it included construction 80 new metro stations. But government had no money, and the project remained on paper.
3. In the first russian branch of metro construction was just one person, and in December 1931 it was closed and few of its employees were arrested. But just a month after, in January, Moscow stood in a huge traffic jam several kilometres long, Trams didn't work, many Muscovites couldn't come to work. Thanks to this situation repressed specialists released from camps and started to work on the Moscow Metro construction.
4. Planned economy and tight deadlines used prevent builders of Moscow metro all the time. Especially there were a big problem with a cement. According to one legend, one of the engineers sold one of two rooms of his “communalka”-flat in exchange for the 100 tons of cement.
5. It was planned to construct a branch with a total length of 11.6 km with 13 stations within 3 years, and nobody in the world haven’t ever done it before. Komsomoltcy were invited to help, but there were totally unexperienced and bad accidents happened quite often. One of frightening legedns says that metro station “Komsomoslkaya” has this name from poor builders who fell up during the construction of the platform.
6. The first line of the Moscow metro was opened on May 15, 1935 and laid from station "Sokolniki" to "Park Kultury" with a branch to the "Smolenskaya". It was planned to open Metro for the May Day, but Stalin after a ride in the Moscow subway, decided to postpone the opening for two weeks. Due to a technical fault train with Stalin for a few minutes stopped in the tunnel.
7. The first tickets in the subway were two colors: red (to "Sokolniki") and yellow (to "Park Kultury"). There were made special notes on every ticket about the time of issuance, and every ticket was valid for 35 minutes. In 1937, at the International World Exhibition in Paris the project of metro station "Sokolniki" was awarded the Grand Prix.
8. During the war(WWII), it was planned to destroy the Moscow metro. On October 15, 1941 People's Commissar of Railways Lazar Kaganovich gave the order to close the Metro and to prepare any plans for Moscow metro liquidation within 3 hours.On the night of October 16, started a preparaion for flooding: metro stations mined, power lines were cutted, dismantled the escalators. On the morning of October 16, 1941 Metro was closed, this is the only day in the history of the Moscow metro, when it has not worked. By the evening of October 16 order of Kaganovich was canceled.
9. Until 1943, when the German stopped the air bombing of Moscow, the subway regularly served as a huge bomb shelter. During this period, 217 children were born underground, stores and hairdressers operated at some stations, and at the "Kurskaya" – even Public Library.
10. At the end of 20s of the last century, when the Moscow subway just beginning to design, experts have traveled throughout Europe and decided to build the stations like in Berlin: the railways will be on the left and on the right, and in the middle – large platform. New metro stations will look different. Spanish designers in 2013 suggested to the government of Moscow to try another scheme: to build a large tunnel with two railways and two platforms on the sides of the railways. This will save the city money and time.