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 crisscross the city, many of them decorated with frescoes, marble columns and ornate chandeliers.
“It’s like visiting a museum,” marveled Pablo Zúñiga 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 center, are among the best known for their glass-stained panels, vaulted 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 Arena, 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 center. 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, modern wagons. Most of them offer free Wi-Fi 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.