When we think subway stations, the image that first comes to mind is perhaps the minimalist-styled Singapore MRT stations – clean and efficient. There are, however, many subway stops in other parts of the world which have evolved beyond their practical purposes and have, for some, interestingly become a tourist destination in itself.
One of this writer’s personal favorite is Hong Kong’s Tsuen Wan Line, where MTR stops like Tsim Sha Tsui, Mongkok and others are adorned with different colored tiled walls, allowing foreigners who have problems recognizing Chinese letters to remember their stops effectively.
Tsim Sha Tsui station in Hong Kong.
But of course, this is still way off the meter when we talk about grand art and architecture which are housed within some of the world’s most lavishly designed stations. These subway stops, intricately molded into glorious caverns, have captured the attention of both locals and tourists. After all, who wouldn’t welcome pretty sights after traveling through pitch dark tunnels in a packed carriage?
And so, for our post today, we pick the world’s 5 subway stations that we think you should be making pit stops at. We guarantee, they will make your transport fare more than well worth.
1. Stockholm, Sweden: T-Centralen Station Photo Credit: here
In the 1950s, artists Vera Nilsson and Siri Derkert suggested for the first time that art be integrated into public transport. Today, more than 140 artists are represented in 90 stations, via permanent and temporary exhibitions. However, T-Centralen Station undeniably remains as the center of attraction with its overwhelming design created in the 1970s.
This standout probably pays tribute to the status of T-Centralen as the core of the Stockholm Metro. This is, after all, the only station in Stockholm where all three lines converge, making it the station with the highest traffic daily.
2. Kaohsiung, Taiwan: Formosa Boulevard Station Photo Credit: here
While the metro line in Kaohsiung may be less extensive as compared to its urban counterpart Taipei, its busiest station, Formosa Boulevard, boasts of the world’s largest public art installation. Known as the “The Dome of Light”, this glass art work measuring 660 square meters, is created by artist Narcissus Quagliata over four years with stained glasses shipped from Germany. The spectacular combination of colors takes audiences through a circular journey of the human life. It is one breathtaking view that one will wish to come home to after a long day.
3. Paris, France: Arts et Métiers Station Photo Credit: here
From replicas of the Louvre collection at the Louvre-Rivoli station and reproduced Rodins at the Varenne station, subway stations in Paris very often resemble museum interiors complete with hidden treasures. The most surreal is at the Arts et Métiers.
Designed by Belgian comic artist François Schuiten, commuters will find themselves alighting to a submarine-alike interior, complete with portholes, which mirrors the theme of nearby museum Le Musée des Arts et Métiers.
4. Kiev, Ukraine: Zoloti Vorota Station Photo Credit: here
We wouldn’t be surprised if you felt like you’ve transcended into old Europe upon entry at this well known station of Ukraine. Opened in the year 1989, this station is named after the Golden Gates historical structure. Large chandeliers hang atop and mosaics by different artists can be found on the vault.
5. St. Petersburg, Russia: Kirovsky Zavod Station Photo Credit: here
While the St. Petersburg subway might not be as majestic as its Moscow counterpart, it deserves a mention still simply because it is the deepest subway to be built in the world. Opened in 1955, the station is named after a nearby Kirov factory. In addition to grand halls and checkered floors, it is famed for housing a statue of Vladimir Lenin.
Have you been to these subway stations before? If yes, share with us what you saw! If no, do tell us whether our list makes you want to include them in your next travel itinerary!