November 2021 − Science in the City
Saint Basil’s Cathedral with its baroque onion-shaped spires; treasures from the tsarist era and the Novodevichy Convent: Russia’s capital is replete with sights – even below ground.
The evening, with the sky descending over Moscow in a gentle hue of blue, is the most beautiful time of day. The expansive pleasure gardens of Gorki Park fall quiet, and the rainbows of its fountains fade. Those who cross the Krymsky Bridge, a steel suspension bridge which spans the Moskva River, will arrive at a small white temple – the subway station Park Kultury – and thus the entrance to the Moskovskoe Metro, Moscow’s Metro, which resembles a museum dedicated to the history of the former Soviet Union.
The Moscow Metro was established in 1935 as the first subway of the former USSR, and it was considered a favorite project of Josef Stalin. It was his goal to create the most beautiful subway system in the world, and many people flooded to the stations to attend its opening. While the people themselves lived in dark cottages, they marveled at the mirroring walls of marble, the sparkling chandeliers and moving stairs beneath the ground.
Palaces for the people
On its way underground, the escalator hums quietly, and the air begins to feel cooler. Then, at a depth of 40 meters, one finds oneself, a 70-cent ticket in hand, at the Station Park Kultury, on a bright white center platform with gray granite tiles and marble columns. Circular, gold-rimmed wall reliefs depict young athletes. These are the pleasant pastimes one can discover in Gorki Park, a park established in 1928 as the first cultural park of the Soviet Union. It served as an example for more than 2,000 other parks throughout the country.
The Station Park Kultury belongs to the Koltsevaya line, also known as line 5, which leads in a circle around the city center. All the other 14 lines, spanning a network of 400 kilometers beneath Russia’s capital, branch off it. The Koltsevaya connects what are considered the most magnificent stations of Moscow, with Komsomolskaya, built in 1952 and six stops from Park Kultury, the most beautiful of all. Travelers are initially greeted by a hall framed by marble arcades, with a ceiling as yellow as the sun and adorned with stucco. Colorful mosaics of precious stones tell of Russian generals as well as Lenin addressing the people in the Red Square. Moscow’s main attraction by the Kremlin is a mere 15-minute ride from the Komsomolskaya.
No opium for the people
As all stations, Komsomolskaya was intended to serve as a palace for the people. Two stations along, however, at Novoslobodskaya, visitors will feel as though they have been transported to a cool cathedral rather than a secular aristocratic villa. Its floor is adorned by a checkerboard pattern, and the illuminated paintings on the walls are reminiscent of stained-glass church windows. Some were indeed crafted by glass artists from Latvia. Painter Pavel Korin had been decorated with a national award of the USSR for the design of the Komsomolskaya; in the case of the Novoslobodskaya, however, he was criticized by the communist regime for its religious appearance. After all, Stalin had banned religion from public life as well as demolished numerous churches in Moscow.
The Kievskaya, too is worth a stop. It was built under the supervision of Nikita Khrushchev who, following Stalin’s death in March 1953, had ascended to the position of leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Khrushchev originated from Ukraine, and he dedicated the decoration of this station to his home. Accordingly, the wall images recount the history of the relationship between Russia and Ukraine, beginning in 1654, when the Ukrainian Cossacks subordinated themselves to the Russian Tsars, all the way to the October Revolution in 1917, following which the Soviet Union was established in 1922.
Above the Metro station, we find the Kiyevsky railway station; it is one of a total of nine long-distance railway stations in Moscow, and it also features a major shopping mall on the banks of the Moskva River. The Mall Yevropeyskiy is definitely worth a visit: on its large fountain, the time is projected into the air by lasers. Those who prefer to go shopping, however, are even better served in the historic department store GUM on Red Square. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with its large arched windows and pointed towers, it appears as though it emerged straight from a Russian fairy tale – especially in the evening when illuminated by golden light.
Glass Metro over the Moskva
Vorobyovy Gory, situated above ground, is a beautiful station from which to enjoy a final view across Moscow at night. While it is not part of the circle route, it can be reached easily – after all, the Moscow Metro allows changing trains as often as one likes, without needing to buy a new ticket. The station is located on a bridge, and thus it lies directly above the Moskva River. One’s view through its glass walls gazes across the black water and a brightly lit city silhouette. Good night, magnificent Moscow!
Eppendorf in Moscow
The Eppendorf Russia office is located in the heart of Moscow: on the Moskva river quay called “Derbenevskaya”. From here, Eppendorf Russia provides user support, promotes its products in the Russian Federation, participates in exhibitions and conferences, displays Eppendorf products in the office showroom and holds seminars. Derbenevskaya is known for its characteristic business centers – successors to factories from pre-revolutionary times, such as the cotton printing plant founded in 1823. Across the river, the 530-year-old Novospassky Monastery can be seen.
Moscow by water, air and land
Discovering the city by bike is a beautiful alternative to the Metro. Fortunately, the city features multiple city bike stations close to the Metro stations and parks where one can rent bicycles or e-bikes. One can either drift or follow a route that can easily be researched online – for example, nine kilometers through the city center, starting at Pushkin Square, and enjoying a lemonade when arriving at the Hermitage Garden. Renting a bike requires registration on a bikesharing-website.
The Moskva meanders through the center of the Russian capital, and those who wish to explore Moscow from a boat or river cruiser, will pass by the most important sights. From the water, the Kremlin, Novodevichy Convent, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour or the Moscow State University may be enjoyed through full, unobstructed views and without the crowds that often congregate by attractions. It is recommended to book the tour in advance and select a custom package.
The approximately 374-meter-high Federation Tower in Moscow City is Moscow’s highest building in the business district. The viewing platform Panorama 360 offers a spectacular view across this city of 12 million people. The top floor of the Swissôtel Krasnye Holmy will also lift you among the clouds: the City Space Bar on the 34th floor invites you to enjoy a sunset dinner while the red sun sets over the Moskva. The menu includes shrimp with wasabi and chocolate biscuit cakes.