- Eastern europe
8 Most Beautiful Metro Stations in Kharkiv, Ukraine
Someone asked me recently if I was an architect since I am always posting photos and commenting about the architectures from around the world throughout my travel.
The fact is that so many things we travel the world to see often involve architecture, may it be the Angkor Wat or the Pyramid, it is natural for one to develop a love for beautiful architectures.
When I realized that Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine has one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world, it was a no brainer for me to include Kharkiv as part of my Ukraine trip.
Like with most post-Soviet cities, the metro system in Kharkiv is a source of their pride and you can see it in the intricately designed and constructed metro stations that reflect what the metro station represents.
After I arrived in Kharkiv, it was raining like crazy and so I asked myself, what better way to spend a rainy day than to go underground and visit all the beautiful metro stations?
So I spent half of that day, hopping from one metro station to another to bring you the most beautiful metro stations to visit in Kharkiv. Without further ado, let's begin with an overview of where all the most beautiful metro stations are with our itinerary map:Table of Contents
- Most Beautiful Kharkiv Metro Stations Itinerary Map
- Ukraine Travel Video
- Is it Legal to Take Photos in Kharkiv Metro Stations?
- How to Avoid Unnecessary Attention from the Police While Checking Out Kharkiv Metro Stations
- How Does the Metro System in Kharkiv Work
- How Much Does it Cost to Check Out Kharkiv Metro Stations
- 8 Most Beautiful Metro Stations in Kharkiv to Check Out
- Further Reading for Ukraine
Most Beautiful Kharkiv Metro Stations Itinerary Map
Ukraine Travel Video
Is it Legal to Take Photos in Kharkiv Metro Stations?
For some outdated security reasons, it is still prohibited to take photos in most Metro Stations in many big cities around the world like Moscow and Washington DC, and unfortunately, Kharkiv is also one of them.
In my opinion, this is a shame since many of these metro stations, especially the one in post-Soviet cities like Kharkiv, are one of the most beautiful architectural creations that allow us to take a peek at what life under the Soviet Union was like.
I believe that Metro Stations like the one in Kharkiv can become a valuable tourist attraction, bringing in tourists from around the world that would not have thought of visiting Kharkiv in the first place.
Many countries in the world have also realized the value of this and some countries like Uzbekistan, who recently lifted a photo ban in all of their metro stations in Tashkent, are capitalizing on the rising number of tourists all around the world and trying to attract them to its capital city.
In Kharkiv, you can get away with taking a few quick photos with your smartphone but if you are carrying a big camera like me, it is a bit more challenging but not impossible. Let me illustrate how I was able to take photos with my big camera without getting caught (twice 😅).
How to Avoid Unnecessary Attention from the Police While Checking Out Kharkiv Metro Stations
I usually do not condone doing illegal things in a foreign country as it is the stupidest things you can do while traveling BUT I would make an exception for this since taking photos of the beautiful metro stations is not harming anyone or leading anyone to harm and by my experience of getting caught once, they simply tell you to stop taking photos, and that was it.
Now, in order to take photos within Kharkiv Metro Stations, you will have to be discrete about it. Here are a few tips you could try:
- Look out for the security: They often wear a white shirt with a dark blue vest, the same uniform the people operating in an escalator booth wears, and avoid taking photos when they are around. They are usually 1 - 3 people walking along with the platform.
- Do not linger in a crowded hallway: People are more often than not, in a rush when they are using the Metro and so do not be a bad tourist and wait until the hallway is not too busy, snap your photo, and move out of the way. You will also attract less attention like this.
- Find a corner or turn your back towards a wall: This will help you keep an eye out of the security without having to worry that they might be approaching from the back.
- Listen to the security when you get caught: Don't be a stubborn tourist and simply put down your camera and move on when you get caught.
- Be Patience: Observe, wait for the right moment, and you will get the shot you want.
- Be Quick: Make sure all your camera settings are in place before proceeding to take photos of the Metro Station. Again, you don't want to linger too long to avoid catching the security person attention.
How Does the Metro System in Kharkiv Work
How to Buy the Metro Ticket in Kharkiv
The Metro System in Kharkiv works the same way as in any metro system built by the Soviet Union all around the world. You go to the ticket booth once you arrive at a metro station, buy a token (8 UAH per trip), go down the escalator, and that is where you will find all the beautiful architecture.
How Many Metro Lines Are There in Kharkiv
There are 3 metro lines in Kharkiv, Kholodnohirsko-Zavodska (Red), the oldest metro line built in 1975 by the Soviet, Saltivska(Blue), built in 1984, and Oleksiivska (Green), the newest line built in 1995 and continued to be expanded until 2016.
For connecting with different metro lines, you do not have to buy another token. All the interconnected stations are accessible from each station's platform without having you to go up above the ground and change the station yourself.
How to Navigate the Metro in Kharkiv
The metro system in Kharkiv, like post-soviet states, is quite straightforward once you get the hang of it. First and foremost, you will have to get down to the platform and more often than not, they will have 2 tracks on both sides of the platform.
In order to see which one goes where you can either look at the sign above your head when you enter the platform where it will tell you which metro station the left and right tracks go.
If you don't want to be standing there in the middle of a crowded platform blocking everyone else's path, you can also go the track themselves and find a metro station sign. Under the metro station name, they will list all the metro station that particular track is going, which station connects to another line, etc.
And to make it even easier for you, Kharkiv Metro Station has all their signs in both English and Russian so you should be able to navigate the metro system without having to ask around.
How Much Does it Cost to Check Out Kharkiv Metro Stations
For this itinerary, it will only cost you 8 UAH for the entire trip. If this isn't the cheapest tourist attraction ever, I do not know what is!
All you have to do is buy one token in one of the metro stations near you and simply visit each metro station I recommended here with this one token. You can switch metro lines or travel back and forth without having to buy another one. This will be the best 8 UAH you will ever spend in Ukraine.
8 Most Beautiful Metro Stations in Kharkiv to Check Out
1. Peremoha Metro Station
Let's begin with the furthest metro station of the Oleksiivska Line (Green), Peremoha, the perfect place to start your metro-station-hopping journey in Kharkiv.
To my surprise, this is one of the newer metro stations in the city. It was recently open in 2016, and yet it still maintains that old Soviet vibe that you could come to expect from a Post-Soviet state like Ukraine.
If you dig a little deeper into the history of Peremoha Metro Station, you will realize that the reason why it maintains the old Brutalism architectural-style is because the station was planned in 1992 but was stopped numerous times before its actual launch date due to several funding problems.
Originally, it was planned to be decorated in a spirit of the Soviet Victory Day but it was scrapped after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the decommunization in Ukraine. The design was slightly changed to comply with the decommunization law and so that is why you see the angular design of the pillars, common in most Brutalism architecture, but painted in pink.
2. 23 Serpnia Metro Station
As we continue from the furthest metro station of the Oleksiivska Line (Green), we will arrive in another all-colorful platform of 23 Serpnia Metro Station.
I accidentally stumbled upon this metro station as I got off on a wrong one on my way to Botanichnyi Sad. When I saw the 23 Serpnia platform through the train windows, I was so captivated by its beauty so much that I thought it was the famous Botanichnyi Sad metro station, hence why I got off.
I did not regret making that mistake though as you can see, the 23 Serpnia platform is beautifully decorated with pastel pink tiles and paints all over the station.
The murals, as well as the pink color they used, doesn't feel like it was built during the Soviet, which is true, because this station was only built in 2004, hence why they were able to steer themselves away from the usual Brutalist-style decor you would come to expect from Soviet-built metro system.
3. Botanichnyi Sad Metro Station (Botanical Garden)
Next up is the Botanichnyi Sad Metro Station, one of the prettiest metro stations in Kharkiv. Same goes with this metro station, the Botanichnyi Sad was built only in 2004, and so the style of the architecture you find is refreshing to see.
Its beautiful green mosaic tiles, paintings of trees and plants, and the blue-colored train goes perfectly well with the fact that this is a metro station that is named after the Botanical Garden of the Kharkiv University above it.
4. Universytet Metro Station (University)
From Botanichnyi Sad, we continue South to Derzhprom Metro Station where the Oleksiivska Metro Line (Green) meets with Saltivska Metro Line (Blue). This is where we will get off and switch so that we can get to Universitat Metro Station on Saltivska Metro Line (Blue).
Universytet Metro Station is a huge multi-level platform with white marble columns all straps in colorful advertisements, giving it a unique look, actually hiding the age of this metro station.
This metro station was built in 1984 right under Kharkiv National University. It used to be named after the founder of the Soviet Secret Police (Dzerzhinska) but as you know, after the Soviet Union collapsed, there was a huge movement in Ukraine to decommunize the country and so the name, as well as a portrait of Felix Dzerzhinska, had been switched out during the renovation.
5. Pushkinska Metro Station
Pushkinska Metro Station is named after, you guessed it, Alexander Pushkin, the great Russian poet, and writer of the world. Pushkinska Metro Station did a really great job at designing the platform that is worthy of the name.
With its all-white ceiling and walls of the platform, a portrait of Pushkin at the center, and even having all the columns strapped with advertisements, the station still looks as gorgeous as ever.
Even the design of the metro station sign that is strapped across the platform wall is in a quill-handwriting style representing Pushkin mastery with his writing. A good throughout architecture like this is what I like about Kharkiv Metro Station.
6. Kyivska Metro Station
As we continue along the Saltivska Metro Line (Blue), another beautiful yet unique metro station you should check out is Kyivska Metro Station, built in 1984.
Kyivska platform is in this large bunker-like hall with beautifully designed curve ceiling that just feels modern yet old at the same time. The 2 walls on the side are covered in intricately designed white marble carvings, and the hall is dimly lit with several brutalist-design chandeliers.
After seeing all the colorful metro stations, some of which are pretty boxed in and small, the spacious design of Kyivska platform is a refreshing take on Brutalism architecture.
7. Arkhitektora Beketova Metro Station
Next up is the Arkhitektora Beketova Metro Station on the Oleksiivska metro line (Green). From Kyivska Metro Station, you will have to backtrack your way to Universytet Metro Station and you will have to switch back to the Green Line and hop on a train at Derzhprom Metro Station towards Metrobudivkiv (or Odeska if the construction is completed) Terminus.
Now, that we have seen the colorful and the spacious halls of some of Kharkiv most beautiful metro stations, Arkhitektora Beketova Metro Station is the one that actually looks and feel like it can withhold a nuclear attack, something that is often considered when the Soviet built their Metro System. Funny enough, this station was actually built by the Ukrainians, not the Soviets.
Arkhitektora Beketova Metro Station opened in 1995 and the platform design does show its age. That said, the beauty of these metro stations is not that it is new and clean but it's the way they are able to pause time temporarily and allow us to see what it was like then.
8. Sportyvna Metro Station
Last but not least, the last metro station we will be visiting along the oldest metro line in Kharkiv, the Kholodnohirsko-Zavodska metro line. From Arkhitektora Beketova Metro Station, you can continue traveling down the green line to the terminus, Metrobudivnykiv and switch to Sportyvna Metro Station on the red line.
This metro station is very similar to Kyivska Metro Station with a spacious platform under a white curved ceiling but instead of plain white, the ceiling is painted with stripes of the Ukrainian flag colors of blue and yellow, wrapping around the ceiling.
The epicness of this metro station is not very easy to capture with a camera due to the scale of the platform and the large flag painting that wraps the whole vault like a ribbon. You will really have to see it with your own eyes to see how beautiful it is.
Same goes for all the metro stations I listed here. Kharkiv is not a popular destination for tourist to visit (that's why I decided to visit Kharkiv in the first place) but with these photos of Kharkiv beautiful metro stations, I hope that it will inspire you to put Kharkiv on your itinerary and come see it for yourself. If you are into beautiful metro stations, you won't regret it.
Are you convinced about Kharkiv? Are you planning to visit all these metro stations? If you have any questions, regarding Kharkiv and its metro stations, do not hesitate to let me know in the comments below.
Further Reading for Ukraine
Looking for more information for your trip to Ukraine? Here is a collection of articles about Ukraine that might help you with your trip planning:
- Ukraine is one of the few hidden gems left in Europe and in order to see the country and all it has to offer, you will need a complete travel guide. Here is a One Month Itinerary for Ukraine.
- Ukraine has recently loosened up their borders a little to non-European travelers with an E-Visa program. Here is my experience applying for an E-Visa for Ukraine and things I wish I knew before applying.
- Of course, one of the reasons why you are visiting Ukraine is to learn more about Chernobyl nuclear disaster and what better way to learn about it than to go in the field and see it with your own eyes. Here is a complete guide on how to visit Chernobyl.
- If you think Kyiv is just good for Chernobyl and Brutalist architecture enthusiasts, then you are in for a big surprise when you find out how awesome the city is. Here are top 18 things to do in Kyiv, Ukraine.
- Are you a coffee snob like I do? If so, then you will love Kyiv and its unmatched indie cafe-culture. Here are 8 best indie cafes you should check out in Kyiv, Ukraine.
- The Tunnel of Love is one of the most photogenic attractions in Ukraine, and it would be a shame to miss it on your trip to Ukraine. Here’s a complete guide on how to visit the Tunnel of Love independently.
- Thinking of visiting the Tunnel of Love and not sure where to base yourself out of? I would recommend Lutsk and here are 8 best things to do that will make you fall in love with Lutsk.
- Lviv is the cultural capital city of Ukraine. It is what St. Petersburg is to Russia, Prague is to Czechia, and Krakow is to Poland. It is the most European city out of all Ukraine and it has so many things to do, you will need a great guide to navigate it. Here are 10 Best Things you should do in Lviv, Ukraine.
- Lviv is another great city to go cafe-hopping if you love coffee and here are my Top 10 Cozy Cafes in Lviv you should check out.
- Getting bored of cities? How about we go and hike some of the stunning trails in the Carpathian Mountains? Here is a complete hiking guide to Yaremche and Ukraine Carpathian Mountains.
- One of the most impressive architectural wonders in Ukraine is Chernivtsi National University in Chernivtsi, a remnant from the Austro-Hungarian Empire time that still survives today. Here are 7 Best Things to Do in Chernivtsi, Ukraine.
- Kamianets-Podilskyi, an island city home to Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle, one of the most beautiful castles in Ukraine, is a place that seems like it came straight out of a fairy tale and a place that you should not miss. Here’s a backpacking guide and top 8 things to do in Kamianets-Podilskyi.
- Odesa is known as the Pearl of the Black Sea and in order to understand why you will need to dive deep into its history and even further down underground into its infamous catacomb. Here is a complete guide on tourist attractions and 8 great things to do in Odesa.
- You may not have heard of Kharkiv before, but once you see what I saw when I was traveling in that city, your mind will be blown away at how beautiful it is. Here are the 10 best things to do in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
- My words are not convincing you about traveling to Ukraine? How about you see it for yourself with my Ukraine travel video? Ukraine Beyond Travel Video
- Want to know where to go after Ukraine? How about visiting Poland, drop by Kosice in Slovakia or go bar-hopping in Budapest, Hungary? We have travel guides for those too.
- For all articles about Ukraine, visit Ukraine Travel Guide page.
- You can see all my Eastern Europe related articles on my Eastern Europe Travel Guide page.
- You can also see all my Europe related articles here: Europe Travel Guide page.
- For more of my travel guides like this, visit my Destinations page.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by Pete Rojwongsuriya, the founder of BucketListly Blog where we will follow his solo journey around the world as he experiences different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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