Lonely Planet Writer

Discover Moscow’s underground mysteries with a new metro app

Moscow Metro launched an official augmented-reality app for Android and iOS called ‘The Underground Mysteries’. The app is full of fun facts and urban legends about Moscow’s metro system and its history. It also helps the users find some unique artworks inside the metro, including mosaics, sculptures and bas-reliefs.

The Moscow Metro. Image by ©Andrey Kryuchenko/500px

The first underground train in the Russian capital was launched in 1935 and soon Moscow Metro became famous as one of the most beautiful public transport systems in the world. Almost all of Moscow Metro’s lobbies are recognized as cultural heritage sites. Every day millions of Muscovites and tourists pass through them, unaware of the incredible stories they hold.

Stained-glass window depicting pianist in Novoslobodskaya Metro Station. Image by ©Jonathan Smith/Lonely Planet

All you need to do to learn these stories is download ‘The Underground Mysteries’ app and select a station where you are currently at or map a route around several stations. Then you’ll have to follow the hints from the app. When you point the phone camera to an object of interest, you’ll be able to see its history, as well as legends and interesting facts associated with it, in the form of photos, video and text. The app also allows you to track your personal progress and share achievements on social media.

Partisan statues near passage in Belorusskaya Metro Station. Image by ©Jonathan Smith/Lonely Planet

The app will tell you the story of the original version of the mosaic with sportsmen carrying the portrait of Yury Gagarin, the first man in space, at Dobryninskaya station (spoiler: they used to carry the portrait of Joseph Stalin). ‘The Underground Mysteries’ can also suggest next to which leg of an enormous guerilla fighter statue at Partizanskaya station you should meet your loved one.

The app can be downloaded for iOS  or Android.

Words:Andrei Muchnik