Moscow subway, the main transport artery of the city, has a rich history. Over the years of it’s existence it has become a magnet for all kinds of urban legends and speculations. Even now, many believe in copious strange theories and myths about it’s stations. Probably the most popular legend about Moscow subway is a mysterious “Metro-2”. According to some, this is a secret subway system that was constructed at the order of Josef Stalin in the 30’s.
Supposedly, it is 50-120 meters deep, has four tube lines and has everything needed for accommodating people in the case of war. A secret passage to one of it’s stations is hidden somewhere in Kremlin building and is connected to the corridors and personnel facilities of the red Sokolnicheskaya line.
There is no confirmation or any definitive proof of it’s existence and many photos of it’s rooms that can be found on the internet are merely a hoax. Although, it is true that the Moscow subway, in fact, can be used as a shelter in the times of need. There are systems of air filtration and isolation, each station has restrooms and special sleeping zones for up to 1000 people. And it is true that there are several bunkers near the subway. The most famous one would probably be Bunker 42, near Taganskaya station. Nowadays there are many excursions that will take you on a fascinating trip inside of it.
Another story about Metro’s construction that has something to do with Stalin, tells how the circle line was created. Apparently, when Moscow underground was in it’s early construction stages, Stalin accidentally placed a coffee mug on the scheme, thus leaving a spot that looked like a ring right around the city centre. Constructionists have decided that it is indeed a new line that should be added to the project. It is of course just another rumour, but at least a fun one. Despite this, some people still search for the higher meaning in the configuration of the Circle line. Astrologists, for example, claim that the 12 stations of it correspond to 12 zodiac signs: Prospect Mira – Aquarius, Komsomolskaya – Pisces, Kurskaya – Ram, Taganskaya – Taurus, Paveletskaya – Gemini, Krasnopresnenskaya – Scoepio, Belorusskaya – Sagittarius, Dobryunynskaya – Cancer, Oktyabrskaya – Leo, Park Kultury – Virgo, Kiyevskaya – Libra, and Novoslobodskaya – Capricorn.
So if you visit Moscow, you can go and see the station of your own zodiac sign (who knows, maybe you will feel a special spiritual connection to it?). And when you are there, pay close attention not only to the grand luxurious decoration, but also to the material of the walls itself. On this stations you can find geological treasures that can be around 350 million years old. The material of the walls contain petrified remains of ammonites, belemnites, brachiopods, nautiluses, and sea lilies. You won’t need any special equipment, some of them are pretty big and reach the size of 5-10 centimetres.
There are also several dark urban legends about ghost trains that ride the lines of the Moscow subway. One of them tells a story of a train that appears once a month at night, in the last minutes before Metro’s closing hour. It looks like an old train of 40-50’s and is operated by a man in soviet uniform. The train stops at every station and occasionally opens it’s doors. If a living person accidentally walks inside he will never be seen again. Another tale also gives an account of a strange train that can be spotted once a month. It goes around on a Circle line after midnight and stops at the stations. But this particular one does never open the doors for strangers. It is believed to transport the souls of those, who have died during the construction of the Metro.
A cheery on top of the ghost stories of the subway is a gruesome and tragic figure of The Black Driver. The legend has it, that in the 1980’s a train went up in flames on the orange Kaluzhsko–Rizhskaya line. Without wasting any time, the driver of the train threw himself in the fire to save as many passengers as he could. Eventually, the man managed to get everyone out of the burning car but died later on in a hospital because of severe thermal injuries. The superiors blamed the incident on him and his supposed lack of professional qualifications. Up to this day, the enraged ghost appeared in the tunnels in search of revenge.
None truly knows what legends are true and what are not, but it is certain that Moscow Metro will always have a complicated image in people’s minds. With it’s gorgeous interiors and all the conspiracy theories and myths attached to it’s history, it will always be one of the most important landmarks of Russia’s capital.