In New York City, most subway stations are only a few stories below ground (although some of course do go down further, as we’ve shown). In St. Petersburg’s subway, getting from the street to the trains can take up to five minutes. Or at least it does at Admiralteyskaya station, the deepest subway station in Russia and among the five deepest metro stations in the world.
With the typical platform lying 187 feet below ground, St. Petersburg boasts the deepest subway system in the world. Admiralteyskaya is 282 feet deep. For some perspective, this is about a fifth of the height of the Empire State Building. And it is almost a hundred feet lower than New York City’s deepest subway station.
Admiralteyskaya is a hot station. It’s in the city’s center and is the stop for tourist destinations like the Hermitage Museum, St. Issac’s Cathedral and the Nabokov Museum. The street it’s on, Malaya Morskaya, was home to Gogol, Tchaikovsky, and Ivan Turgenev author of the 19th-century novel Fathers and Sons.
Admiralteyskaya’s history does not go back so far. Construction on the station began in 1997, but money and safety problems kept it from opening until 2011. It was a ghost station that trains passed through during those years.
So inside, the station looks brand new. The walls are made of spotless, faux marble panels and shiny gold mosaics, which tell Petersburg history. One shows Peter the Great opening the Admiralty building in 1704. This building was the former headquarters of the Russian Navy and is just a couple blocks away from the station, hence its name “Admiraltey-skaya.”
Another mosaic shows a panoramic view of the Navy’s massive ships, which passengers can admire as they descend down the first leg of their escalator ride. And there’s a mosaic dedicated to Poseidon, a nod to the Navy’s ability to master nature’s ferocious seas.
The theme is fitting, if ironic, since water was one of the reasons it took so long for the station to open. The land Admiralteyskaya is built on is moist and unstable, as is much of St. Petersburg since the city sits on a former swamp. The station constructors had to solve the tricky problem of how to safely make escalators there, and do it without damaging any of the historic buildings nearby.
Next, read about 6 Hidden Art Courtyards of St. Petersburg, Russia.