I can’t imagine life in Minsk without the metro. Not only it allows me to get to any station in less than 45 minutes, but it also saves me from bad weather. Metro is dry in autumn, warm in winter, and cool in summer. It is not too deep, and there are no stations on the surface. The first line was opened in 1984. Most of the stations look similarly Soviet, but each has its unique features. To save your time, I shortlisted the five most picturesque stations of Minsk metro. Up until 2019, taking pictures at the stations was prohibited: the metro was considered as a strategical object. After the ban was lifted, you are free to take shots on the stations and in the wagons for private use. For professional photo or video shoot, you still need to get permission from the metro direction. My personal request: don’t flash-blind the drivers and be careful when taking selfies near the rails.
Let’s start from the only station from the red line. In the USSR, most of the geographical names were given after Soviet politicians, revolutionaries, and veterans of war. Frunze was a member of RSDLP and took an active part in Russian revolutions. After Bolsheviks came into power, he was leading pro-revolutionary troops of the Red Army in the main battles of the Russian Civil war. The bronze statues of him on a horse with a gun look very dramatic. Tip for visiting: if you want to see some mort monumental Soviet art, take an escalator beneath the bronze statue of mother and child, exit metro, and you will see even more epic mural. Be aware though; you will need to pay again to enter the station.
Yakub Kolas is the second national poet of Belarus after Yanka Kupala. Unusually yellowish, this station has the nicest decorations on its pillars. Kolas means wheat head. The poet used this nickname to show how close he is with the folk. Each pillar depicts scenes from rural life - tilling, harvesting, celebrating «Kupalle» decorated with wheat head ornaments. Find the plot you like more or combine a set of several pillars in one frame.
The only thing at the station to grab your attention is a pillar with a huge ball with the USSR logo on it. Hammer and sickle image is lighted from inside and can get into a pretty weird combination with ads on the TV sets on both sides. This station is located near the Belarusian State University campus and the Central Station, so it can be very crowded even out of typical rush hour time. If you walk up the stairs towards the Independence Square, you can find a big bust of Lenin. Rumor has it that after rubbing Lenin’s nose, you will keep coming back to Minsk. On the other side, there is a memorial to the victims of the 1905 Kurlowski shooting. With all due respect, it looks like a portal to the underworld and can be a great background for a Halloween costume.
Hrušaŭka was launched 28 years after the preceding Institut Kultury station. You can easily see the difference in the architects' approaches. The station is not a masterpiece; it’s an art gallery. There are small statues and pictures located on the platform and at the entrance. The highlight is not too hard to find. Hrušaŭka is named after the district around, which was named after a village located here at the beginning of the XX century. The village was famous for its hruša trees. If you haven’t yet guessed the translation, check the picture below.
There’s not much to say about this station. It’s simply the most popular one. Belarusians who come to the capital for the first time visit this distant station on purpose. It feels like you’re in a very long planetarium and that trains might actually take you to another planet.
To see all of the stations, you would need to pay for one entrance. You can either buy a zheton (token) or use a contactless bank card or phone with NFC technology. There is no place to charge your phone in the metro, so have it fully charged or take a power-bank with you. Don’t forget that station doors open at 5:30 AM and close at 0:40 sharp. And of course, «Please, mind the closing doors» when checking the five most picturesque stations of Minsk metro.
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