The Moscow Underground – Moscow, Russia

The Subway that Stalin Built

You may have imagined that an evening at the Bolshoi followed by some celebratory caviar and vodka would surely be your most vivid memory of Moscow. But don’t even think about leaving the city without venturing deep into its subterranean passageways on the least expensive subway ride (about 30 cents!) you’re ever likely to take.

The first stop of the very safe 140-station system was completed in 1935. The older the station, the more elaborate the décor – we’re talking crystal chandeliers, gold leafs, mosaics, and faux Roman statues. The most beautiful and interesting stations are Mayakovskaya, Kievskaya and Komsomolskaya. Some escalator descents are so steep, you’ll think you’re on your way to the center of the earth.

Each station is announced – though that may not help you much. While rush hour is not recommended for claustrophobes, others may find it provides the most insightful moments. And they said New Yorkers were the champions at scowling and avoiding eye contact.

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