WHAT TO SEE: Mayakovskaya Metro Station
Designed and constructed during the optimistic Futurist moment of the early 20th century, Mayakovskaya metro station is a relic from the early days of Soviet Russia. Named after the Futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, who conceptualized it, and built by architect Alexey Dushkin, the metro station transports you to the imagination of those who envisioned a better future for Russia in a Communist society. The station was built deep underground in 1938 using aeronautical engineering techniques, just in time to be used as a bomb shelter for World War II. Joseph Stalin famously gave a radio-broadcast speech there in 1941, celebrating the 24th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. There are thirty-four ceiling mosaics by artist Aleksandr Deyneka, comprising a piece called “24-Hour Soviet Sky,” which depicts idealized tableaus of Soviet life. The mosaics are inlaid into deep-carved niches, and can only be viewed when standing directly underneath them looking up, as if looking upwards through the ceiling and at the city above ground.