Take a look inside Kyiv’s astonishing Soviet-era metro system, home to the deepest subway station in the entire world

The metro system in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital city, is strikingly beautiful.

First opened in the 1960s when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, it is filled with chandeliers, mosaics, and colorful stone.

It also claims to have the deepest subway station in the world at 105.5 meters (346 feet) below street level.

The subway system in Ukraine’s capital city is filled with marble, statement lighting, and beautiful artworks.

Kiev’s three lines cut across the city, serving its almost three million residents, and the system is home to what is claimed to be the world’s deepest subway station, almost 350 feet below street level.

The subway carries around 1.3 million people a day, and is filled with modern amenities like phone service and information screens.

But much of its beauty dates back to when its first stations opened in 1960, when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union.

Here’s what it looks like.

Ukraine’s metro was the first one the Soviet Union considered building in the 1880s, but its first stations weren’t built until 1960, 35 years after Moscow’s subway first opened.

Kiev’s Zoloti Vorota, or “Golden Gate,” subway station in November 2012.
SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

The one billionth passenger travelled through the system in August 1972 — he was stopped and given a free annual ticket from the system’s chief engineer.

Soviet-era subway systems are known for being beautifully designed, and Kiev’s metro is no different — its 52 stations are all decorated in a unique fashion, and many feature bright lights and plenty of marble.

Passengers are seen at a platform of “Klovska” Subway station in Kiev.
REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Metal, wood, granite, marble, and other materials were brought to Kiev from across the USSR.

Some stations have murals, like this one that looks like a theatre, in Teatralna, the nearest stop to Kiev’s opera house.

A passenger walks along a platform of “Teatralna” (Theater’s) station in Kiev in February 2016.
REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Many of the stations were renamed after Ukraine became independent in 1991. For example, the “Red Army” station was renamed “Ukraine Palace” and the “Square of the October Revolution” was renamed “Independence Square.”

The entrance to sub Universitet (University) station in April 4 2016.
REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Kiev is home to the world’s deepest subway station: Arsenalna, which is 105.5 meters (346 feet) below street level.

SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

The system contains beautiful mosaics, like these ones at Zoloti Vorota.

The Zoloti Vorota station.
SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Such is Kiev’s love for its subway system, the city even has a museum for the metro, where you can buy things like sweaters that say “Do not lean” in Ukrainian.

Many of the stations have chandelier light fixtures.

Ukrainian children sing Christmas carols in Kiev’s subway in 2014.
REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

And others have more unusual, futuristic designs. Pecherska, south of Kiev’s city centre, has these striking spotlights.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Some stations are dark and sleek, with modern lighting fixtures. Slavutych features these industrial-chic pillars.

A train at a platform of Slavutych station.
REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

While some of the stations are more minimal, they are still brightly lit and filled with beautiful stone. Lukyanivska, pictured below, features an amazing vaulted ceiling.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

There are also statues throughout the network. Teatralna was formerly known as Leninska, or Lenin’s station. It features a statue of, you guessed it, Lenin.

SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

The trains themselves are also brightly colored, and are painted in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag.

A train on a platform of Osokorky Subway station in Kiev in 2016.
REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

The entrances of many of the stations are also beautiful. Vokzalna, which is attached to Kiev’s main railway station, features a neoclassical frontage.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

The subway may date back to the 1960s, but it takes modern payment methods.

A passenger swipes a card against a terminal to ride the system in 2017.
REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

The system is also filled with seating. In this photo, a passenger takes a load off at the station of Dvorets Sporta, or Palace of Sport.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

The escalators are well-lit, with illuminated advertisements on the sides. Here, a group of supporters of Spanish side Real Madrid enter a station ahead of the 2018 Champions League final, which was held in the city.

AP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko

The cost of all these grand chandeliers, cavernous platforms, and intricate mosaics? $0.30 per ride.

Passengers at Kiev’s Zoloti Vorota subway station in September 2018.
Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
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10 comments

  • Not only is it beautiful, the trains are always on time. The trains arrive every two minutes, and a ticket costs around 0.29 of a Euro, or 26p in the UK. The only downside to the metro, is the trains are jam packed most of the time.

    Liked by 4 people

  • The Ukrainian and Russian word for a large central station (as opposed to a small branch station) is вокзал, which is a transliteration of the English word Vauxhall, which is the name of a fairly large station in central London. There are many theories as to how that came about; one being that a visiting Russian delegation in Victorian times asked ‘what is that place?’ On receiving the reply ‘Vauxhall’, they assumed it was the generic name for a station. I used to commute into Vauxhall for some years. I’m glad I don’t have to these days, as it has been transformed into a dangerous inner city shithole, swarming with degenerates from primitive and savage cultures.

    Liked by 5 people

  • англійський масон

    I have travelled on the Kyiv Metro, not that long ago when you had to buy tokens, which of course were either sold out or rationed at the most popular stations at busy times!
    Absolutely stunning Architecture, clean, quick and felt safe to me.
    Arsenalna is a wow the first time you are at the top of the escalators!

    Liked by 4 people

  • I’ve traveled on the Kiev metro countless times since 2013 and have enjoyed it for the first time on, until now. It’s timely, cheap and clean. I even enjoy the long escalator rides on the deeper stations. I prefer the metro over the clogged city streets in a car, taxi or bus and use it anytime, if I can get to my destination without a subsequent long walk or when I don’t expect a large/multitudinous purchase. In normal cases, it’s the perfect way to travel within the city. Thumbs up for the Kiev metro!

    Liked by 4 people

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