lunes, 20 de enero de 2014

Moscow by metro

This episode of Euronews on Russian Life is devoted to the Moscow metreo.

Self-study activity:
Watch the five-minute video clip and answer the questions about it.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

1 What is the nickname of Moscow?
2 What does 1930 refer to?
3 What is the Arbat?
4 What has been going on in Bolshoi Theatre in the last six years?
5 How big is the theatre today?
6 What is the GUM?
7 What did Winzavod use to be?
8 How are the young artists who show their exhibitions at Winzavod selected?
9 What does 19th century refer to at the end of the clip?
The Moscow metro runs for 300 kilometers and is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. In this edition of Russian Life we are taking a trip around the capital that never stops.
Carrying over 7 million passengers a day, the metro is Moscow’s vital transport artery, going underway is the best way to avoid the sometimes unbearable road traffic. But it was also one of the USSR’s most extravagant architectural projects, embodying the utopian idea of a bright Communist future. The original stations, built in the 1930s, are true underground palaces with marble walls, elaborate mosaics and cast bronze statues.
Most of the metro lines run through the city centre, which is covered with attractions such as the Arbat, one of the oldest surviving pedestrian streets, where one can meet some of the quirkier people from the city.
A couple of metro stops away stands the iconic neoclassical facade of the Bolshoi Theatre – one of the world’s most renowned ballet and opera companies. The historic main building has recently been reopened after an extensive six-year renovation that cost, according to official estimations, more than half a billion euros. The first major repairs in 150 years restored the acoustics to their original quality and brought back the Imperial decor.
“There was a real threat of losing the building that served as a true symbol of our culture for Moscow as a city and for all Russians. The building was preserved and expanded, so now it has twice as much floorspace and the stage is bigger”.
Another historic building that still fulfils its original function is the Moscow GUM. The main department store built at the end of the 19th century is now a place of luxury shopping that keeps some elements of Soviet nostalgia in its decor.
Other objects of Moscow’s architectural heritage have found a new vocation. Winzavod used to be Moscow’s oldest winery but now this serves as an important contemporary art centre.
 “There’s a lot to see and discover in Russian modern art. It’s very distinctive, and at the same time it gradually shifts to fit nicely into the European and global context.”
Experts select young artists from all around Russia, granting them exhibition space in the mysterious and evocative halls.
A family-friendly way to end an eventful day in the Russian capital would be a visit to the famous Moscow Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard.
“This is one of Russia’s oldest circuses. It was founded in the late 19th century and some of the most famous artists have performed here.”
 “Circus is always a happy festival, a bright, colourful spectacle in colourful costumes with beautiful music, played here by a live band.”
In the next edition, we will continue our promenade along the most picturesque sites on the banks of the Moskva river. See you next week in Russian Life.