Kyiv subway is famous for national style interior and one of the deepest stations in the world.
The world’s first underground appeared in London in far 1863. That is why the London subway breaks all the time. At the end of the 1800s, Paris started to use an underground metro. The national Metropolitan Railways company built it. Since that time, new kind of transport keeps the name of its founder company– Metropolitan. Nevertheless, people called it in different ways – tube, underground, subway, metro.
At that time, the tramway was the most popular transport in Eastern Europe. Surely, there were many progressive people, who kept the idea of building a metropolitan. However, the tram’s industry owners pushed them back. Kyiv citizens started to use underground just in 1960 after WWII. At that time, Kiev metropolitan had just seven stations. The Metropolitan line started on Zavod (factory) Bolshevik station (now Shuliavska) and finished near Dnipro river on Dnipro station.
There are some interesting facts about Kyiv underground. The metropolitan’s tube station Arsenalna is the deepest station in the world – 105.5 meters. It takes you about five minutes to get outside by two escalators. The station’s entrance is at the top of a steep hill near the Dnipro River. Such hilly surface is typical for Kyiv. The station’s platform needs to be deep because the railway returns to ground level at the next station down the line. Arsenalna station has a unique construction. First, engineers built metal and concrete construction above the ground. This construction had a two-floor building! Kyiv citizens named it a gigantic glass. Engineers got it down in construction pit carefully. They should have installed two escalators because such long escalator does not exist. The platform between two escalators is the “glass” bottom. Workers dug tunnels under the construction. This extraordinary work ran for four months.
The most beautiful station in Kiev metropolitan is Golden gate underground. This station is a neighbour of ancient Kiev Russ monuments such as Golden Gate and St Sofia. So, the station has décor with mosaic in typical Kiev Russ style. Clockwise you will proceed portraits of the main Kyiv rulers from city founders till the last one. You can also see fantastic birds with dog’s heads. Gorgeous hall is lightened with openwork metal candleholders.
It was suggested that Moscow architects would work out the station’s interior. However, they offered nothing special. Just typical project for any station. Ukrainian architects, artists and Kyiv citizens persuaded the government that Golden Gate station should reflect historical events. During all their work, artists did not show their creations to anybody. If they painted princes and saints at the time of Dictator Stalin, easily he could accuse them being nationalists and sent to Siberia prison. However, it was the end of the Soviet empire. Between all portraits and decorations of Golden Gate station, there is one hidden inscription. If you go up by the first escalator and approach the second one, above your head on the arch you will see “Glory to Ukraine”.