The St. Petersburg Metro
The St. Petersburg Metro system is one of the most beautiful in the world. It is also interesting as a transport network too, as well as being one of St. Petersburg's major tourist attractions.
- The stations on the St. Petersburg Metro are often called 'underground palaces'. Their decoration involves 65 kinds of natural materials which include marble, abradorite, granite, travertine, limestone, and others.
- A new logo was developed for the St. Petersburg Metro in 1992. The designers worked on it for six months, deciding not to depart from the dark blue lettering, which has always been used.
- The shortest line interchange on the system is between Vladimirskaya and Ploschad Vosstaniya stations. Its length is just 848 metres.
- There is a cat which 'lives' on one of the Metro's stations – or better to say, he's drawn on a frieze at Volkovskaaya station. You wouldn't immediately notice him there, but if you find him there, you can make a wish for good luck. The story says he's a red cat, who curls up towards the red-eyed owl that sits on the fence.
- The metro also has so-called 'ghost stations. They're stations which have been built, but have not yet been put into operation on the lines they serve. For a long time, Admiralty station was such a station. In fact, it's the deepest metro station in Russia, at 89 metres underground. They spent a long time looking for a location where its lobby could be placed. While construction was under way, passengers saw just a deserted and dark station there.
There had long been plans to build a metro system in St. Petersburg while it was still the capital city of the Russian Empire – before the Russian Revolution. The first such proposals were made in 1889. However, a sequence of events prevented their fruition – such as the First World War, followed by the Russian Revolution, and the Russian Civil War. A new plan to open the metro was lined up for 1941, but yet again war disrupted the project, and the USSR was mired in the Second World War. It was only after the Second World War that construction finally began, in 1947. Eight years later – on 15th November 1956, what is today's red line – which serves the most important historic locations in the city – was given its grand ceremonial opening. Despite the damage done during the war, over the next years more and more sections of the metro were opened.
What to see
- The stations which made up the first section of the metro to open – Avtovo, Kirovsky Zavod, Narvskaya, Pushkinskaya, and Ploschad Vosstanya.
- The 'city lift' on Mayakovskaya station – a station described as a closed-in design, with a wall between the trains and the waiting area, for safety reasons.
- The most modern stations on the network, such as Obvodny Canal, and Admiralty (the deepest station).
Most stations on the St. Petersburg Metro open from 05-30 am, and stay open until 01-00 am the next day. You can get fuller details about opening times and working hours on the official website of the St. Petersburg Metro.