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Metro Museum, Russia

Experienced voyagerExperienced voyagerExperienced voyagerExperienced voyager Joshua Brook
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Moscow's Metro Museum, attached to the southern exit of Sportivnaya Metro Station, charts the history and development of the capital's metro system and features some rather interesting hardware. Visitors can sit in a full-scale driver's cab and play with some of the equipment used to control the system and monitor the position of trains on the tracks. Black and white photos showing the construction of the first lines of the metro system highlight the role played by Komsomol volunteers, but plays down the involvement of the hundreds of slave-laborers forced to dig alongside them. The museum houses hundreds of other artifacts, including various construction designs and photos of some of the system's more ornate stations.
Moscow's metro stations have long been dubbed "the people's palaces", for their elegant designs and lavish and profuse use of marble, mosaics, sculptures and chandeliers. Built during Stalin's rule, the metro system was supposed to display the best of Soviet architecture and design and show how privileged the lifestyle of the Russian people was. The first line, tunneled and built mainly by forced laborers, was the product of Stalin's first Fiver-Year Plan and its 13 stations were ceremoniously inaugurated in May 1935.

Today the metro system has grown into an enormous network of 11 lines and over 160 stations, with new stations opening every year. Those wanting to glimpse the best interiors that the Moscow Metro has to offer should take a trip along the opulent Circle Line, stopping at Arbatskaya, Belorusskaya, Kievskaya, Komsomolskaya, Kropotkinskaya and Park Kultury to gaze at the mosaics, chandeliers, marble columns and stunning stucco-covered ceilings. For more information on the city's metro system have a look at the Russian-language website www.metro.ru. Trips to the Metro Museum must be organized in advance, so don't forget to phone ahead! More info on: www.moscow-taxi.com

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