The Trans-Siberian Express, an Unforgettble Route Northeast
This is without a doubt one of the most intriguing journeys for all travelers.
“The Trans-Siberian Railway devours the planet.
Each day an hour disappears before us,
falling behind the train, becoming a seed.”
- Pablo Neruda, extract from “Trans-Siberian”
The world’s longest railroad opened 122 years ago: it extends 5,732 miles, between Moscow and Vladivostok, Russia’s most easterly port, whose foundation in 1860 and later economic growth demanded construction of the Trans-Siberian railway, also known by the locals as the “Rossiya” (Russia) train. The railroad’s construction began in 1891 and was completed in 1916, more or less parallel to the construction of the Trans-Andean train that linked Argentina and Chile in 1910.
Traveling across that great expanse of land, crossing rivers and passing beside the world’s oldest and deepest lake, Lake Baikal, is a journey through the internal and folk history of one of the planet’s most attractive and diverse countries. In the globalized world in which we live, the Trans-Siberian is like the lighthouse to lost understanding. The long journey crosses not only seven – or nine, according to the chosen route – timezones, but also a vast expanse of landscapes and cultures that remind us of the singularity of things through a constant change of landscape seen through the windows and the opportunity the traveler has to alight from the train at any point during the trip.
This train inspired the idyllic verses of Pablo Neruda as he traveled to Beijing to award the International Peace Prize to Madame Sun Yat-Sen, but also inspired the decadent verses of Blaise Cendrars. To give an idea of its magnitude, Anton Chekhov suggested that only migratory birds could know it. Without the Trans-Siberian, Ryszard Kapuscinski would not have been able to recount the deepest intrigues of the Soviet Union and the causes of its collapse, as he did in Imperium. If it had not been for the railroad’s opening, the jeweler Carl Fabergé would never have been able to poject one of his most adventurous designs for his famous Easter eggs: with a height of 26cm, it was made of gold and covered with green enamel and decorated with blue and orange enamel mountings: around the widest part he placed a silver belt that has the train’s route engraved upon it with precious stones that mark each of the stations and, most surprising of all, the egg contains a miniature Trans-Siberian railway, 40cm long and 1.25cm high that, once taken out and assembled, works with its own mechanism.
It is such the curiosity that the old and functional railway inspires that Google has dreamed up a virtual trip that is so precise that it can last six days, allowing the traveler to make the respective stops across the 12 regions and 87 cities that the train passes through. The Trans-Siberian express is one of the world’s greatest routes and we are transformed by merely imagining it.
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