When I arrived in Kiev, I had no idea I was in the same city as the world’s deepest metro station. With the main attractions like cathedrals, city gates and Landscape Alley, most people don’t think to explore what’s beneath them.
The Kiev metro network has three lines spanning over 40 miles with 52 stations and two more lines planned. In 2016, the metro carried nearly half a billion people. Yet those figures pale compared to how the metro was constructed. As the third metro system built in the former USSR, it seems to be a true feat of engineering. With plenty of hills across the city, not to mention a major river, the lines were laid very deep.
Arsenalna station, located on the Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska Line, is a staggering 346 feet deep. That’s the equivalent to a 32-story skyscraper. There is a single escalator tunnel leading down to the train platforms, which takes a full five minutes to ride up or down. It’s not the most interesting ride in the world, but still fun to say you rode it. The motif in the station is a little plain, but there are other stations with a much more colorful decor.
One of these is Zoloti Vorota, located beneath the Golden Gate, one of the three original gates to Kiev. It was my favorite station I traveled through, with its high-vaulted ceilings, decorative arches, marble columns and beautiful chandeliers.
Several stations have opened up in the past decade, with modern decor utilizing marble tiles and good lighting. Some of the older stations have also been redesigned, including the removal of old Soviet stars. Since 2015, Ukraine has been working on decommunizing their country.
Perhaps the best part about the metro system in Kiev is the cost. If you’re interested in seeing several of the metro stations, you can travel from one to the next on a single token. Since July 2017, tokens cost 5 Ukranian hryvnia. One US dollar gets you 26 hryvnia, which means that a ride on the metro costs you just about $.19. So far, that’s the cheapest ride I’ve paid for public transportation anywhere in my travels.
To get to Arsenalna station, take the red line from Khreshchatyk station near Independence Square and head one stop toward Brovarska. Instead of riding up and down the escalator (a whole ten minutes), I’d recommend leaving the metro and walking south along the river to see the massive Motherland Monument and war museums. Have fun.