The Ring Line (Koltsovaya) – Part One

"Underground 2"

The Ring Line is my great favorite. While on the Sokolnicheskaya and Zamoskvarechkaya Lines, at least those constructed before 1950, there seems to be an overall concept for the stations, with bigger or smaller variations, the Ring Line stations are unique and original. The Ring Line’s construction to me is the summit of the underground splendour: The war was over, reconstruction had taken place, and the line itself served necessities not quite as urgent as the former ones. It was, if you like, even more of a luxury than the other ones.

This why this line takes up so much space on this website.

The Ring Line has 12 stations and covers a trajectory of 19,4 kilometers.


Belorusskaya Station

Belorusskaya Ring Line station (opened 1952)

Entrance hall

There is another Belorusskaya Station belonging to the second line, the Zamoskvarechkaya, and of course connected with the later one, which displays the usual splendour of marble, granite and white tiles usual in the 30-ies.

But it was not devoted to the same aim as the Ring Line’s: to make the Muscovites (and eventual visitors of the capital) familiar with the popular art and culture of Belarus.

Bridges in Belorusskaya Station leading from one direction’s platform to the other, above the trains

A stone mosaic decoration, lining the wall at the top.


Lamp in Belorusskaya Station

These details show how the art exposed in this station is meant to reflect the popular art,




One of the numerous mosaics in the ceiling picturing idealized scenes from the life of the Soviet citizen, using special Belorussian patterns and motifs.

Of course, in order to enjoy them thoroughly you have to almost break your neck.



such as painting or embroidery, of Belorussia.









Drawing, perhaps sketches to the numerous ceiling mosaics.

It was arbitrary to start with this station. But from now on there is order. The next station clockwise is Novoslobodskaya.


Novoslobodskaya Station

Novoslobodskaya Station (opened also in 1952). Main hall



The stained glass decorations obviously are meant to represent the art of church windows. They were made by various artists in Riga.




I do not really know how the design of this station has to do with the name.

Novaya Sloboda was a craftsmen’s village outside of old Moscow. Generally the word "sloboda", the old slav word for "freedom", in Russia refers to a settlement whose inhabitants had been freed from serfdom. Perhaps for this reason they developed sacral craftmanship and art, out of gratitude. Later the village was incorporated into Moscow, and probably situated in the region where this station is.

This large mosaic in the back of Novoslobodskaya Station bears the title "Peace All Over The World".



From the information obtainable on the web it seems to be under restoration now.





Again one cannot help recognizing that the Soviet style socialism evidently tried to present himself as an alternative to Christian religion.

Below Moscow are many abandoned tunnels and stations. They were built for strategic reasons, as the Soviet leaders already in the 30-ies anticipated the problems to come. This way the Moscow Underground’s planning is an interesting feature regarding the question whether the Soviet politicians were prepared for the German invasion: It may be that the exact moment or the direction it came from was unexpected, but they already knew there was war coming some years before it actually started.

Already in 1935 the station "Sovietskaya" was planned for the second stage of the underground construction, on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line between "Teatralnaya" and "Mayakovskaya". As its construction took place during the war it was designed to house the Central Command for Civic Defence instead of serving as an underground station, and therefore it was closed towards the tunnel by walls. Later it occupied a space where a station would have been adequate, and its different destination caused a very long trajectory without station, a disturbing state of affairs that was only ended with the construction of Gorkovskaya (now Tverskaya) Station in the 70-ies.

Sovietskaya Non-Station still exists, though closed to the public. It is still destinated to serve as a shelter in times of war – for the staff of the above located Moscow Authority for Emergency Situations.


Prospekt Mira

Prospekt Mira Station – the Station of the Boulevard of Peace, opened in 1952




The main hall. Notice the small round reliefs in the upper part of the columns.

These reliefs depict scenes from agriculture.



In the back, beyond the platform, you can see a wall covered with red marble.

The other walls in the foreground are covered with white marble.

The side of the platform, with the omnipresent hammer and sickle as decorations ...

The frieze on top of the columns is from ceramic.

Stalin had two bunkers during the war, one near the stations "Sokolniki" and "Ismailovskiy Park", the other one outside Moscow. The latter was built already during the war with special strong ceiling support bars from cast iron. These bunkers were connected to the Kremlin by tunnels of a size that allowed cars to pass there. These tunnels still exist and belong into the sphere of the Ministry for Disasters.

All the information about the secret tunnels and even secret underground lines running to the dacha and elsewhere only became public after 1991. Strange enough, they were first described in detail in a publication of the US Defence Ministry of 1992, based on a publication by the Soviet Armed Forces in 1991.

Later the Russian yellow press started to publish such an amount of nonsense that most people lost the interest in the topic or thought it was all an invention. The monthly "Ogonyok" called these lines "Underground 2". Then the theme disappeared again from the press, probably on some important persons’ pressure.


Komsomolskaya Station

The inauguration of Komsomolskaya Station in 1952


A part of the passage between the two Komsomolskaya Stations, the one on Sokolnicheskaya and the one on the Ring Line.

Another part of the passage


The older Komsomolskaya Station (opened in 1938) was urgent, as it connected the Kremlin with important train stations. Therefore it is a little simpler than the Ring Line’s.

A column, somewhere in the entrance hall of the station.


The two Komsomolskaya stations’ importance lies in the fact that it is situated below the Place of the "Three Stations": The Leningrad (perhaps today Petersburg) Station, the Kazan Station and the the Jaroslavl Station, each leading to a different direction: To Petersburg in the northwest, to Jaroslavl in the northeast, and to Kazan in the east.

Detail from a part of the passage, already entering the station.

Komsomolskaya Station – Ring Line, just as the two former stations, was also opened in 1952

The main hall


The mosaics on the ceiling tell tales of Russia’s and Soviet Union’s belligerent past, –

– from Alexander Nyevskiy’s victorious battle on the ice of lake Peipus/Chudskoye till the battles and victory in World War II.



Detail from the ceiling decoration

The original secret underground that was constructed still in Stalin’s times, during World War II and taking into account the dangers, bomb attacks and experiences of that war, has one line leading from the Kremlin to the southwest, in the direction of Vnukovo Airport. Along this line the underground headquarters at Ramenkiy, where the General Staff was located during World War II, are situated. Somewhere in the vicinity of the underground station "Vorobeinye Gory" there is a tunnel interconnecting the secret underground line with the public Sokolnicheskaya Line.

This line, far from being given up, was extended in the late 80-ies.


Kurskaya Station

Kurskaya Station/Ring Line – older than the former ones of the Ring Line, was opened already in 1950.

It is situated below the Kursk Train Station, starting point of a line leading to the south.

The speciality of this station are the niches with the unique lamps in two colours, adding a very interesting atmosphere to the whole main hall of the station.
One of these niches without its lamp.

The passage uniting the Station with the older Kurskaya Station on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line.

This picture is originally taken from an old Soviet post card series showing a lot of details from the Moscow Underground.






Detail from the passage (the columns between the artificially lit windows)

The entrance hall with exits leading into the underground and to the train station.

Then there is another line leading from the center to the east-northeast: That is the line that originally connected the Kremlin with Stalin’s dacha. It has been extended and after changes in the late 80-ies now leads to other subterranean bunkers and command posts outside Moscow and is, like the other secret lines, inaccessible not only to the ordinary citizen, but to high-ranking politicians, too. It constitutes, just as the buildings and accesses to the "Underground 2" and its similiarly secret entrances, a military top secret.

There are two more secret lines existing that were built in 1987 and ’88, preparing for a nuclear war. This is remarkable as by then the Soviet Union was rather broke and these subterranean constructions are very costly: Gorbachov and his cooperators, evidently, were preparing for the worst scenario.


Taganskaya Station

Taganskaya Station was opened in 1950.



Main hall

It is named after another "sloboda" in the outskirts of 16th century Moscow whose inhabitants made racks for kettles which were called "tagan". So the village was called Taganka, and so were later a street and place in this area after it was incorporated into Moscow.


On this street, near the underground station, is a theater also called Taganka which was very famous in Brezhnyevs stagnation period for its daring productions and its extravagant actors.




Details from the wall decoration. These flame-like reliefs are made in majolica technique.

The figures inside the circle of the reliefs represent officers or simple soldiers of importance in World War II.


Between the entrance hall on top and the main hall on the bottom there is an intersection of the corridors with a dome.



The ceiling of the dome is covered by a mosaic with the title "Salute to Victory".


continuation of the Ring Line

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