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

Sinéad Baker
kiev subway

SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images


  • 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 1/2 meters, or 346 feet, below street level.
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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 3 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 about 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 finished until 1960, 35 years after Moscow's subway first opened.

SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

The one billionth passenger thought to have traveled 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.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

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

Source: Kiev Metro

Read more: One of the world's most beautiful subway systems was illegal to photograph until last year — take a look inside



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

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.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Source: Kiev Metro



Kiev is home to the world's deepest subway station, Arsenalna, which is 105 1/2 meters, or 346 feet, below street level.

SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Source: Atlas Obscura



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

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

Source: Kiev Metro



Many of the stations have chandelier light fixtures.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

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

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

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

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.

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.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

The system is also filled with seating. In this photo, a passenger took 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 the Spanish side Real Madrid entered 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 a ride.

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