Beauty and Art Under the Ground

404-beauty-and-art-under-the-groundUnderground, subway, metro and tube are almost synonyms and I can even say they are terms which substitute for one another in different countries. Underground is widely used in British English, for example. Moreover, the London underground system is often called the Tube. On the other hand, the Americans prefer the word subway. While metro derives from Metropolitan (metropolitana in Italian) and it refers to any train system, not necessarily only subterranean.

Surely, any of these transport systems is quite comfortable for covering long distances in a big city on a daily basis or moving from airports to city centres, or choosing a hotel for your stay which is well positioned and close to an important hub for rapid transit.

The world’s first underground railway was the London Underground which was opened in 1863. Its first tunnels were made and built just below the surface. Later it was decided that smaller and almost circular tunnels resembling tubes would be dug through at a deeper level. Namely they gave the nickname the Tube to the London Underground which nowadays possesses a system of 270 stations.

Later the construction of the London undergroung gave an impetus on the building of electric and electrified underground railways in other European cities like Budapest, Athens, Berlin, Paris, etc. By the way, subways have changed through the years in sense that they have become more attractive and interesting turning into true art and historic museums. And here are several examples proving that.

Moscow Metro (Моско́вский метрополите́н or Moskovsky metropoliten in Russian): The underground was opened in 1935. Its route was only 11 km and it had only 13 stations in the beginning. Nowadays it is the fourth busiest underground in the world with its 300 km of track and 188 stations. The subway in Moscow was commissioned by iron-fisted leader Stalin who wanted metro’s artists to make a design that incorporated and embodied two major elements: svet (light, radiance and brilliance) and svetloe budushchee (happy and nice future). Thus the Moscow metro turned into a luxurious “place for the people” where they would admire the art and beauty under the ground as they admired the sun.  All this was achieved due to the numerous marble walls and high ceilings as well as the splendid chandeliers which shone like an “artificial underground sun”. What else? Apart from being shiny, metro stations in Moscow are also true art museums which house thousands of bas-reliefs, friezes and statues (bronze and marble). In addition stained-glass windows and countless Byzantine style glass, marble and granite mosaics add more splendour and beauty to this rapid transit place in the Russian capital.

The Naples Metro (La Metropolitana di Napoli): Not to omit is the underground of Naples. It is one of the most artistic subways in the world, especially its Line 1 art stations like “Università” and “Toledo” where the creative genius of the residents of Naples have reached its peak. So, I can assure you that Naples Underground could offer you an extraordinary, “creative” 2-hour trip under the ground.

Athens Underground (Μετρό Αθήνας or Metró Athínas in Greek): You are aware of the fact that the Hellenic capital was a host to the 2004 Olympics. In this connection, most of the city was excavated in the 90s of last century so that the subway could be extended. During those excavations, archeologists found hundreds of thousands of precious and priceless antique objects which are on display namely at the Syntagma subway station. it’s not only a simple station where metro trains come and go. Nope. It serves as a “archeological museum” as well.

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