A young boy from a military school rides Moscow’s metrotrain. It’s not unusual to see military uniforms on the trains. (Didier Bizet)

The metro of Moscow is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the world.

In 1933, the greatest architects of the Soviet era left their mark on the cityscape by creating one of the most important cultural heritage sites in Russia. When Stalin and the Communist Party’s Central Committee, the Bolsheviks, launched the development, it became a symbol of architectural prowess that was unequaled in civil engineering at that time. The builders were honored, and the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League that led the construction received the Order of Lenin. The city’s makeup was inspired by the overwhelming feeling of patriotism that existed at that time.

The worker’s union, with help from Joseph Stalin, built the most beautiful underground world, an empire of marble and stone palaces with royal aesthetics. The revolution and the defense of the motherland were two key ideas of the USSR and its socialist regime. These ideas were celebrated in mosaics and sculptures that appeared as early as when the line first opened on May 15, 1935.

At the Kievskaya station, the marble is polished three times a day by cleaning crews. The station was opened in 1954. (Didier Bizet)

The metro, which was named after Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, was designed to showcase the biggest communist regime to the world. According to the Moscow transport department, the rail system has more than 8 million visitors a day — making it the busiest metro system in Europe. It also holds the world record for timekeeping.

This palatial network is considered Moscow’s second urban attraction and allows visitors to step back in time to Soviet days. With its visually stunning design and passengers that seem to be from another age, no wonder it’s also a major source of inspiration for Russian cinema and theater.

(Didier Bizet)

During peak hours, there is a train every 90 seconds, according to a representative of Moscow’s metro. (Didier Bizet)

In the Teatralnaya station, Yuri plays a concerto. He had to audition to play in one of the 15 authorized stations. Each year, 200 people are selected out of 1,000 applicants, according to a representative of Moscow’s metro. (Didier Bizet)

Loudspeakers in corridors and escalators regularly broadcast messages for people in stress or depression and offer free help. Suicides are most frequent in spring and autumn. (Didier Bizet)

Irina Serpova works at the Plochtchad Revolioutsi station. Behind her window, she says, the station is quiet. Some 88,000 people work in 206 stations in total on 14 lines, according to a representative of Moscow’s metro. (Didier Bizet)

At the Krasnopresnenskaya station, the benches come from the Cathedral of Christ-Sauveur, which was built from 1839 to 1883 in memory of the victory of Russia against the army of Napoleon I. The cathedral was destroyed under Stalin in 1931, but the benches remained intact. Metro architects decided to install them in some stations. (Didier Bizet)

The Novoslobodskaya station on the circle has the distinction of being one of the favorite stations of Muscovites and tourists. It was opened in 1952 and symbolizes the greatness of socialism and the beauty of the Soviet homeland. (Didier Bizet)

A priest seen through the window of a train. (Didier Bizet)

A man carrying the ribbon of St. George after a May 9 commemoration in the dark and austere Plotschad Revolutsyii station. The station has red-brown marble lateral arches which surround the central vestibule and are decorated at their base with seventy-six bronze sculptures installed in niches. Muscovites sometimes touch the sculptures, particularly the dog’s muzzles. Some people say that it can bring happiness. (Didier Bizet)

(Didier Bizet)