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November 28, 2000

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After 11 years of construction, the first part of the Kiev Metro opened in 1960. In typical soviet fashion, the Metro was designed to be a showcase of artistry, fashion and ingenuity for the capital city of one of its largest republics. Each of the now forty-plus stations has an entirely different theme or design. Baroque, gothic, neoclassical, art deco, jugendstil, arabesque, ultramodern -- you name a style and there is a fine example of it at one of the Metro stations along the three lines there. Ranging from the starkly simple to simply opulent, these stations and their 3 subway lines service a bustling city of some three million people. For the sum of a measly 9 cents you can ride all day if you wish.

ABOVE: The metro provides reliable transportation in a country where only a small percent of the population can afford cars. As Kiev is also a modern capital city with many foreigners and expensive taxis, it is the only affordable transportation for a large part of the population.

RIGHT: Some details of the Universitet station, one of the first constructed, and in the insets examples of some of the creative grillwork used throughout the whole system. No two grill designs in the system are the same.

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L. D. Fletcher is a long-time contributor and Harbinger staffer of 10 years, and is presently looking for a home for the thousands of digital photographs he and his Ukrainian friends have taken. He can be reached at For more information and pictures of the Kiev Metro, go to


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