The famous Moscow metro is turning 81 on 12 May, and a group of Russians are planning a special adventure to mark the anniversary. The‘Metromarathon’ participants are going to visit every metro station in the capital during a single working day.
A train sets out from Partizanskaya station, Moscow.
There are 199 stations on the Moscow metro and because it operates from 5am to 1am, the Metromarathonners will have approximately 20 hours to visit them all, covering a distance of 335.5km. The man who came up with the idea is Alexei Tikhonov, who works as analyst for Yandex, Russia’s internet company and largest online search engine. He worked out the best route for this subterranean journey using several algorithms.
Train stopping at Maryina Roshcha Metro station.
The Metromarathon will have live coverage online, both through social networks and on a dedicated website. The organisers believe 2016 is their only chance for an attempt like this to succeed, because the Moscow metro will have 12 new stations by the end of this year and ten more are expected to open next year.
Arbatskaya Metro station in Moscow, Russia. Image by Tim Adams / CC BY 2.0
Up to nine million people ride the Moscow metro every day, which is more than the number of commuters in London and New York combined. Because of peak-hour crowds, the best time for a tour is on a Saturday or Sunday morning or any evening after 8pm. The Russian capital’s metro is considered one of the most beautiful in the world, as many stations are true works of art and listed as cultural heritage sites.
Some of the highlights are: Mayakovskaya station (with an art-deco central hall and ceiling mosaics), Komsomolskaya (also with ceiling mosaics depicting Russian military heroes), Teatralnaya (with porcelain figures of Soviet republics in national dress), Novoslobodskaya (with stained-glass panels depicting various professions), Ploshchad Revolyutsii (with life-sized bronze statues representing themes like revolution, education, sport, agriculture and so on) and Park Pobedy (the deepest in Moscow and with longest escalators in the world).