Going Underground

A combination of geography, climate, and Cold War fear resulted in St. Petersburg's Metro being unlike any other subway system. When the first stations opened in the fifties, after being delayed by World War II, they took the crown as not only the deepest—some go as far as 130 feet below the surface—but also ar­gu­ably the most beau­tiful. Marble statues, grand columns, and stunning reliefs abound, providing a fine distrac­tion while you're on an escalator ride that can last six minutes. Of particular note is the Stalinist architecture of the Avtovo station and the vaulted-ceiling stations built in the seventies, such as Ploshchad Muzhestva.