A Moscow sub­way ticket can get you a ride – and an eye­ful of art and ar­chi­tec­ture

The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition) - - GLOBE TRAVEL - RI­CARDO ZUNIGA MOSCOW

Hop on the Moscow sub­way for an easy, safe and cheap way to travel around Moscow dur­ing the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup or next year’s World Cup. And also catch some art. Famous for its el­e­gant and am­ple sta­tions, the Moscow sub­way is among the clean­est and most ef­fi­cient in the world. Opened in 1935, the sys­tem has 13 un­der­ground lines and 206 sta­tions that criss-cross the city, many of them dec­o­rated with fres­coes, mar­ble col­umns and or­nate chan­de­liers.

“It’s like vis­it­ing a mu­seum,” mar­velled Pablo Zuniga Toro, a Chilean TV jour­nal­ist vis­it­ing Rus­sia to cover the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup. “Ev­ery­thing is so grandiose.”

Ta­gan­skaya, Kom­so­mol­skaya, Novoslo­bod­skaya and Kievskaya, all along a cir­cu­lar line that marks the Moscow city cen­tre, are among the best known for their glass-stained pan­els, vault- ed ceil­ings and Soviet-era mu­rals. As you might ex­pect in this for­mer com­mu­nist coun­try, Lenin and the 1905 revo­lu­tion are two of the most pop­u­lar sub­jects.

The two Moscow sta­di­ums that will be used in the 2018 World Cup are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble by sub­way: Spar­tak Sta­dium, host of four Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup matches, is served by Line 7 on the north­west­ern part of the city, and Luzh­niki, host of next year’s open­ing match and fi­nal, sits on Line 1 closer to the city cen­tre. Other lines also con­nect to trains serv­ing the two main Moscow air­ports, Shereme­tyevo and Do­mode­dovo.

Most of the sta­tion names are writ­ten in the lo­cal Cyril­lic al­pha­bet, although in a re­cent up­grade with an eye on the ex­pected tourist in­flux for the World Cup, the an­nounce­ments aboard the cars are now made in Rus­sian and English.

Cars are a mix of old and new: Soviet-era wag­ons with wooden floors al­ter­nate with sleek, mod- ern wag­ons. Most of them of­fer free WiFi con­nec­tion.

Also, se­cu­rity has stepped up since a se­ries of bomb at­tacks in re­cent years, and it’s com­mon for sta­tion en­trances to have metal de­tec­tors.

The cost for a sin­gle ride? 55 rubles – roughly $1, a third of the price for a ride in New York and a sixth of the price of Lon­don.

Not bad for a ride that dou­bles as a mu­seum visit.

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