Rub for Romance (Beloryusskaya metro station)

A well eradicated habit in Russian culture is that of rubbing bronze statues. Those, which are not meant to be rubbed are cordoned-off, but sometimes even that is not enough to deter people from rubbing with their hands the feet of religious statues in churches. Besides a general “good luck” a lot of statues apparently have a special “gift giving” ability, like an Aladdin’s lamp that grant wishes in a specific area of life only. Today I will tell you about one of such “special statues”, which I think is one of the most interesting.

Belorusskaya is a station on the Moscow Metro‘s Koltsevaya Line, the circular one identified by the color brown on the metro map. It is named after the nearby Belorussky Rail Terminal. It opened in 1952, serving briefly as the terminus of the line before the circle was completed in 1954. The station has low, white marble pylons, an elaborately patterned plaster ceiling, light fixtures supported by ornate scroll-shaped brackets, and a variety of decorations based on Belarusian themes. Overhead, twelve octagonal mosaics depict Belarusian daily life, and underfoot the platform is intricately tiled to resemble a Belarusian quilt. Sadly, in 2002 a bomb exploded under one of Belorusskaya’s marble benches, injuring seven people.

A sculptural group (pictured above), “Belarusian Partisans“, by Soviet painter, ceramicist and sculptor specializing in depicting Russian historical figures. S.M. Orlov, is located in the passage between this station and Belorusskaya-Radialnaya on the green n.2 line. Because, as mentioned above, Beloyusskaya serves the long distance rail station by the same name, the partisan trio is considered a patron of people traveling on holiday or going on a business trip.

So far, nothing particularly surprising. What I find amusing is the belief that girls, who want a holiday romance should rub the muzzle of young partisan’s machine gun; men on the other hand need to rub the girl’s weapon.

To be completely honest, the weapons don’t appear to be particularly shiny, as they would if they were rubbed very often. I am not sure if that is because Russian people don’t really believe in their “romance bringing abilities”, or if they very self-confident and believe they need no “external help” to find love…

In any case, I find this tradition rather bizarre (what on Earth do machine guns have to do with romance?), but still way more “elegant” that the European custom of rubbing female statues’ bosom all the time (if you don’t believe me, just google “Giulietta statue in Verona”…)!



Would you like to take part in a photowalk or a photo tour of Moscow or any other Russian destination with an English (and Italian, Spanish and French) speaking photographer (me) showing you the sights, the best time and viewpoint(s) to capture them in your images and helping you improve your photo technique with practical tips? If so, do get in touch and we’ll be happy to create an unforgettable, tailor-made experience for you!





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