Clearly, the first and foremost purpose of a subway station is to be a place where passengers can transition effectively from one train to another. However, as a location where masses of people flock to every day, subway stops can come to serve more than a mere practical purpose. They can become exhibition halls of great art and architecture, showcasing a country's or city's cultural treasures.
Lavish, old subway stops in allow passengers to travel back in time as they walk long corridors filled with antique chandeliers and other decadent embellishments. Recently renovated or entirely new subway stations, in turn, can reflect the newest technology and become monuments to innovation.
Here are 15 of the coolest and most beautiful subway stops you can consider visiting on your travels. Who thought seeing art, architecture, culture, history and technology could all be done on the budget of using public transport?
The St. Petersburg subway might not be as majestic as its Moscow counterpart, but it is still impressive. In fact, it deserves a mention simply because it is the deepest subway in the world by the average depth of all the stations. The Kirovsky Zavod station opened on November 15th, 1955. Its name comes from the Kirov factory, which is nearby. In addition to grand halls and checkered floors, you can see a statue of Lenin here.
The Federal Triangle station currently provides service for the Blue and Orange Lines of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). In the future, it will also be on the Silver Line route. It was opened on July 1st, 1977, and on January 13th, 1982, was the unfortunate location of the system's first failure when an eastbound Metro train on the Orange Line derailed just east of the station resulting in three fatalities.
The Pyongyang Metro operates at some 110 meters underground since 1973. Back then, such a depth was necessary so that the stations could also serve as bomb shelters. The stations are not named by location but by revolutionary terminology such as Puhung (Reconstruction), Yonggwang (Glory), Hwanggumbol (Golden Fields), Pulgunbyol (Red Star) and Chonru (Comrade). The photo above shows a view from the staircase above the station platform, where you can see the elaborate decorations and chandeliers. At the other end is the mosaic "The Great Leader Kim II Sung Among Workers," which you can view here.
The purpose of the Olaias station was to link the inner city with the Expo '98 area. It was designed by Portuguese architect Tomás Taveira and a team of Portuguese artists, including Pedro Cabrita Reis, Graça Pereira Coutinho, Pedro Calapez and Rui Sanchez. Like many others in Portugal, it boasts a contemporary interior design, including dramatic coloring and exquisitely crafted tiles. The International Architecture Yearbook, Issue 5, provides a great overview of the artistic highlights of the station. Read more about <a href="http://www.portugaltravelguide.org/getting-around-in-lisbon.html" target="_hplink">getting around in Lisbon </a>
Zoloti Vorota station is one of Kiev's most well-known subway stops. It is named after the Golden Gates historical structure, and opened as part of the first stage of the Syretsko-Pecherska Line on December 30, 1989. A series of architects contributed to the design, yet the station itself was constructed thanks to Boris and his son Vadim Zhezherin, as well as the artistic architects S.Adamenko and M.Ralko. It contains a column trivault with the theme of the Architecture of Kievan Rus. To be seen are large chandeliers with light bulbs in the shape of candles. Mosaics by artists G. Koren and V. Fedko can be found on the vault and columns, which are made of white marble with a matte polish, while the floor is made of granite.
Changi Airport Mass Rapid Transition (MRT) Station was opened on February 8th, 2002. It serves as a pedestrian link between Terminals 2 and 3, as well as a connection to Singapore Expo, the largest convention and exhibition venue in Singapore with over 100,000 square meters of column-free, indoor space spread over 10 halls. At each end, the station is anchored by a 35m tall glass atrium, where vertical circulation between the terminal levels is concentrated. So that the maximum amount of daylight can enter the station's lower levels, the glass curtain walls are supported by a minimal cable truss structure, which evokes a sense of lightness and transparency.
Opened on December 18th, 1890, the Kennington station is part of London's first deep-level tube, the City & South London Railway (C&SLR). In contrast to other original C&SLR stations, the surface of the Kennington station building has suffered very little changes. As such, it is the only station of the C&SLR that still very much retains its original design. After its first extensive refurbishment in over 80 years, the station has now reopened for public use. Learn more about the <a href="http://www.londonlogue.com/transportation-2/the-tube.html" target="_hplink">London Tube </a>
The Moscow International Portal describes the stations of the Moscow subway as "underground palaces of Moscow." With their magnificent vestibules and underground halls, often decorated with chandeliers, they certainly merit this description. Many of the stations are linked with the city's history; while old, pre-war stations represent Russia's industrialization, post-war stops embody the pleasure of victory and pride that was felt by the inhabitants at the time. Opened on September 7th, 2008, the Slavyansky Bulvar station is one of the newest additions to the Moscow subway system. Its wrought iron and lamps are deliberately reminiscent of the Parisian metro.
The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel may not officially be a subway. However, it is a train trip well worth taking. To be exact, the Bund is a tunnel that runs underneath the Pu river. Tourists can enter a small cable car, which takes them through the tunnel of colorful light beams, waving puppets and suddenly disappearing movie screens. During the journey, house music is played. See some of the<a href="http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/11-08/the-worlds-12-most-scenic-train-rides.html" target="_hplink"> most scenic train rides in the world </a>
The Bockenheimer Warte Station is one of the most important transfer stations of the Frankfurt subway system. Here the C-line crosses with the U6 and U7, as well as the U4 which runs in the D-tunnel. You can also transfer to various bus lines and trams here. The construction of this station was first begun in 1986, and expanded in 2001. The station is worth viewing not only for its underground architecture, but also for one of its subway entrances. Click here to see the unique entrance, which looks like a train bursting through the sidewalk from below. Architect Zbiginiew Peter Pininski reported he felt inspired by surrealist artist René Magritte when creating it.
Bayview Station, a stop on the Sheppard line, is one of the most recent additions to the Toronto subway system; it opened in 2002. The station was designed by Stevens Group Architects, who were responsible for the high-ceiling entrance pavilions with long, angled roofs that overhang the structure. Throughout the station, you can see From Here Right Now, a trompe l'oeil installation by Toronto artist Panya Clark Espinal. Her website explains that in From Here Right Now, "twenty-four hand-drawn images have been 'projected' onto the architecture of the station so that when seen from the original location of projection, the images are crystalized and realistic, but when seen from other locations they appear to be abstractions. These images act as beacons, drawing the viewers along various paths of movement. Depicting everyday objects and simple geometric shapes, the images are rendered in an uncommonly large scale and in unusual orientations, allowing one to interact playfully with them as one moves through the space."
Named after the nearby Central Park, this station lies on the Red Line of the Kaohsiung subway. A two-level underground station, the Central Park stop was designed by British architect Richard Rogers. Design-wise, purple is the pervading color throughout the station. The courtyard grass areas, in turn, are covered in a slope of yellow windmills shaped liked sunflowers.
In "T-Centralen," "T" is an abbreviation for "tunnelbana," which in Swedish means "underground" or "subway." The T-Centralen station is the core of the Stockholm Metro; that is, it is the only station in which all of the three lines (Tub1, Tub2, and Tub3) meet. As such, it is the subway station with the highest traffic in Stockholm. To be exact, the station consists of two sections: one for Tub1 and Tub2, and one for Tub3. The latter is shown above and is different from the other two in its appearance. Back in the 1950s, artists Vera Nilsson and Siri Derkert proposed that art should be part of the new subway system. The Tub3 section of the station is where the Blue Line runs, thus the blue and white artwork, which dates back to the 1970s. Inspired by Nilsson's and Derkert's pioneering idea, there are now more than 140 artists represented in 90 of Stockholm's metro stations, including both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Find out how to visit <a href="http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/11-08/exploring-stockholm-on-a-budget.html" target="_hplink">Stockholm on a budget </a>
Formosa Boulevard is a transfer station for the Red and Orange Line in Kaohsiung City. The station is famous for the "Dome of Light," the world's largest public art installation that comprises individual pieces of colored glass. Created by artist Narcissus Quagliata, the "Dome of Light" took just under four years to be completed; it was overseen by Quagliata himself, who had the pieces shipped from Germany for installation here in Taiwan. With a 30-meter diameter and a total area of 660 square meters, the dome tells the story of human life in four chronologically arranged themes: Water: The Womb of Life; Earth: Prosperity and Growth; Light: The Creative Spirit; and Fire: Destruction and Rebirth, with an overall message of love and tolerance. Check out some <a href="http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/09-07/7-unique-modes-of-transport-in-asia.html" target="_hplink">unique modes of transport in Asia </a> <strong>
Champ-de-Mars Station opened on October 14th, 1966, as part of the initial subway network of Montreal. Situated in Old Montreal in the Ville-Marie borough, the station is now on the Orange Line of the Montreal Metro rapid transit system. The station is particularly spectacular on a sunny day, when light enters the stained glass windows by Automatiste painter Marcelle Ferron. The windows comprise of of the artist's masterpieces and according to some, are her most famous work. Back in 1968, they were given by the Government of Quebec as the first work of non-figurative art commissioned for the metro. Book a <a href="http://www.whygocanada.com/airfare-to-montreal" target="_hplink">flight to Montreal </a> PHOTO CREDITS: href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/75565659@N00/501916836/" target="_hplink"> jpmartineau</a>, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wisefly/3007290029/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">wisefly</a>, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/40959726@N00/1383919036/" target="_hplink">Milton CJ</a>,<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/hiroshiken/2316548038/" target="_hplink"> hiroshiken</a>, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wecand/4131240700/sizes/o/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">wecand</a>, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/81345650@N00/178594018/" target="_hplink">cwangdom</a>, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/85278812@N00/1555797/" target="_hplink">Robbie1</a>, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/89231936@N00/3992068834/" target="_hplink">somebody_</a>,<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/59367690@N00/3244779936/" target="_hplink"> neiljs</a>,<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/43288930@N00/246879912/" target="_hplink"> magnusvk</a>, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalevkevad/6103448261/" target="_hplink">kalevkevad</a>, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/20792787@N00/76321372/" target="_hplink">Jaime.silva</a>, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/yeowatzup/2929129872/" target="_hplink">yeowatzup</a>, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50457550@N00/71999434/" target="_hplink">Genista</a>, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/24105644@N03/4773339537/" target="_hplink">Socialism Expo</a>.</em>
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