About Minsk Metro
Minsk metro is open from about 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Read more on the newest metro station Malinovka.
Fare: you can find out the cost of tickets and travel documents at Minsk subway and other means of transport here. Generally, the cost of one travel does not exceed $0.4. Note that information at ticket offices is only in Belarusian or Russian for now.
Security: Twenty-four security control areas designed to check passengers’ baggage have been created to enhance security in the Minsk metro. New equipment will allow detecting explosives in a flash, while metal detectors will help find several types of metals. Such equipment is now used at National Airport Minsk and in the subway of Russia's Yekaterinburg and China's capital Beijing.
Station names: You may find subway station names a bit complicated since they are transliterated from Belarusian. Signs in the subway will help you. They have been recently redesigned to make it easier for tourists to find destinations.
In 2014, stations were announced in Belarusian and English but from 2015, only Belarusian announcements were left. However, all signs are still in English and Belarusian.
Station names are in Belarusian and English. The current station is marked yellow.
There are also signs on each station with sights you can find nearby.
The most popular station: Kastrycnickaja (in Russian: Oktyabrskaya) is the most popular station in Minsk. Located in the center of the Belarusian capital, it provides a transfer to the Autazavodskaya (red) line. If you want to see the majority of Minsk sights in one place get off at this station and take a walk through the streets of Minsk! The station is under the main street in Minsk - Nezavisimosti Avenue.
Minsk metro: history and interesting facts
"We don't need a subway in Minsk!" Today this phrase will undoubtedly bewilder Minsk residents. However, at the end of the 1960s the authorities thought that they were right.
There was an unwritten law in the USSR that only a city with over 1 million residents could have a metro. It is said that in order to reach the desired million to build a subway in Minsk, the government created favorable conditions for the resettlement of villagers. Finally in 1972 the millionth citizen was born in Minsk.
On 16 June 1977, the first pile was driven in the area of the future station "Park Chelyuskintsev" of the first metro line.
First subway builders came to Belarus from other cities. They had experience in the construction of wine cellars, mines and railway tunnels in the mountains of North Caucasus.
Photographer Piotr Kostroma also came to Minsk. Frankly speaking, he was digging the tunnel with one hand and took pictures for newspapers and for himself with the other. All in all, he created about half a million of them. This is why he is called the chronicler of the Minsk metro. Piotr Kostroma's photos were printed in all Belarusian newspapers.
Piotr saved the Minsk subway from conservation with a camera in his hands. He wanted to amaze the Union government with his photographs and persuade them to allocate money to continue the construction.
Piotr Kostroma, photographer:
Our authorities deliberated and instructed me to take photos of what had already been done. We wanted the Union government to understand that it would be more expensive to suspend the construction than to finish the subway.
Piotr Kostroma managed to convey the scale of construction in the pictures, and money was earmarked.
Belarus did not have experience of subway construction but the miners set a record that is yet to be beaten - they tunneled with a speed of 120 meters per month with the help of non-mechanized tunneling shield.
The subway was the project of the century. Builders even had to destroy the city center to construct the underground infrastructure.
Visits to the construction site were a must for foreign guests from international governmental delegations.
In 1984, the first subway line of 8 stations was put into operation - a year ahead of schedule.
During the construction of the metro station Niamiha (the second subway line) archeologists had much work, too. This is the territory of the old castle where utensils and weapons belonging to our ancestors were found. Part of the former Minsk Castle, where all these findings were discovered, is still underground.
Then builders faced another problem: the River Svisloch. How to get under the river? Various options were offered such as to freeze the ground and pass under the river or use air pressure not letting water into the tunnel.
The builders found a decision. They build a dam across the river and sent Svisloch water through pipes, after which they could pass under the river. Under Svisloch builders faced a problem again. This time it came in the form of concrete structures left from a destroyed pre-war bridge. Perforator and TNT did their job.
Photographer Piotr Kostroma recalls how underground works shook the walls of the cathedral nearby (see photo).
It seemed that a voice from above told the builders to choose another route. It design was changed and the pit was reinforced.
Valery Chekanov, director of Minskmetroproyekt:
The new stations (for example Petrovshchina or Mikhalovo) are names of former villages that were located here before they were absorbed by Minsk. The design of these stations is neutral: in particular, we used the theme of nature. There should not be any ideology here.
Staff of the organization helped design metro in other cities like in Kazan, Omsk, Chelyabinsk, Almaty and had the experience of building transport tunnels in the Caucasus.
Designers decided to play with colors and philosophize a bit. For example, Petrovshchina is like a summer night with lots of stars, “Mikhalovo" resembles a sunset in winter and "Grushevka" reminds us of a sunny August morning.
Vladimir Telepnev participated in the designing of half of Minsk's subway stations.
Vladimir Telepnev, chief architect of Minskmetroproyekt:
We wanted to revive the inner space, add some expression to the interior. We have already tried this when designing "Avtozavodskaya" and then "Mogilevskaya." Next we began to develop the theme of color saturation and of the color itself on these stations.
The Belarusian subway was known in the USSR as a "shallow" one. Well, Belarusians did not get offended. It is much more practical, more efficient and more convenient for passengers.
A deep subway is considered more dangerous. In emergencies, it is much more difficult to get to the surface.
Subway never sleeps! From 5:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., it is "occupied" by passengers but then it is time for subway staff to do their job.
Metro carriages are thoroughly checked before they head for the depot. Otherwise passengers remaining there will witness the reality show "Night in the subway."
"Work is a second home." This is not a figure of speech for train drivers. Sometimes their shift ends at 1:30 a.m. and in a couple of hours they have to return to work. Here they can take a nap on the couch.
Every time before train drivers start their working day they are obliged to visit a doctor. This is one of the peculiarities of underground drivers’ work. All of them can boast excellent health. Out of 36 contenders for the position of a subway driver only 5 are really fit enough to work there.
Depot is the only chance for trains to "see" daylight. At night, they remain in a warm hangar where technical staff checks their "health."
Night metro differs little from that during the day. Instead of passengers platforms are full of workers. A handcar is indispensible for them. Handcars do not depend on electric current and begin working after the contact rail (the third rail) is turned off.
Night is a rush hour in the tunnel. While passengers are sleeping, workers need to prepare the subway for a busy morning.
Workers with defectoscopes look for cracks, or, better to say, hope not to find them. Especially the guy with headphones, because when problems are detected he hears a very loud sound. To become a researcher you need to take an exam.
Stations are regularly redecorated. All work is carried out after the last train departs for the depot.
By 5 a.m. workers "hide" and the station opens to passengers again. It is impossible to guess that all night work was underway here.
Sometimes the subway turns into a pavilion for shooting action films. Emergency workers and various special forces hone their skills here.
After all, the subway is initially a bomb shelter, and only then public transport. After a kind of "mayhem" morning passengers do not realize that a few hours ago a special operation was carried out here to capture criminals and neutralize bombs.
The dispatch room is the heart of the subway. The entire first subway line in miniature is before the eyes of the train dispatcher. Red "worms" instead of blue trains are seen on the screen.
The automated control system has all information about the life underground. It is always in touch with the Emergencies Ministry and other operational services. The dispatcher keeps everything in his hands. He is the first who learns about incidents in the subway and takes appropriate steps.
Nikolai Bokhanovich, Minsk subway train dispatcher:
Sometimes at rush hour people try to hold doors preventing the train from departing. We see it and tell the engineer how much time he has before he falls behind schedule because seconds matter here.
All 4 escalators are never turned on simultaneously because safety is priority number one.
Georgy Toleyko, chief engineer of electromechanical services of the Minsk subway:
If there are two up escalators, too many people will gather down there on the platform, which carries some risks. In order to avoid this we try to let people leave the platform as quickly as possible.