Universitet Metro Station, Kyiv – the Home of Scientists and Writers
One stop along from our first Metro Monday station – Teatralna metro station – Universitet Metro Station in Kyiv is next to Taras Shevchenko University. It’s definitely no less impressive than our first two stations, Teatralna and Zoloti Vorota.
Taras Shevchenko University is apparently the top university in Ukraine and was one of the top three universities in the USSR, as well as now in the top 200 universities in the world. It has some quite spectacular buildings as well as a park in front with a good Ukrainian restaurant – O Panas, and A.V Formin Botanic Gardens behind.
Taras Shevchenko is a household name in Ukraine, but sadly, we had never heard of him until we moved here. A poet, artist and writer, he rose from poverty, supported the class struggle against the Russian Empire and became a voice of Ukrainian nationalism. Now, his works are studied by all Ukrainian students as one of the founders of Ukrainian literature. For those of you who have visited Ukraine, it is his face you can see on the 100 grivna note.
Universitet metro station, Kyiv was one of the first five metro stations to open in Kyiv, on the red line, in 1960. It is housed in an interesting looking circular building sitting above the botanic gardens. Inside there are some old-fashioned looking ticket offices and shops, before you descent two sets of escalators, with a domed vestibule between.
The concourse is beautiful. The marble walls have niches in each pillar with white busts of famous scientists and poets including Shevchenko himself, the writer Alexander Pushkin who lived in Odessa for a period and gives his name to streets in many cities (Pushkinskaya), Ivan Franko, the writer and political activist whose face is on the 20 grivna note and who gave his name to the Western Ukrainian city of Ivana Frankivsk, Gregory Skovoroda, the 18th century philosopher who is depicted on the 500 grivna note, Maxim Gorky, another writer and political activist, physician Alexander Bogomolets, namesake of the Bogomolets Medical University in Kyiv, Dimitry Mendelev – the creator of the periodic table and Mikhail Lomonosov, the 18th century scientist.
The top is fringed with an ornate white border with freezes. Even the lights are ornate, displaying the communist star. It seems that each metro station has a different design of lights. Look out for them.
As with many Kyiv metro stations, on the platform at Universitet, you can see what looks like a bronze door in the side of the wall. These seem to commemorate the year the station opened. I’ve no idea where they lead to, if anywhere. The one in Universitet metro station bears the year 1960, the year the station, and the metro itself, opened, and a star.
At the end of the concourse, there allegedly used to be a big statue of Lenin. Just like those in Tealtrana metro, this was taken down after Ukrainian independence. Now there is a display of the construction of the Kyiv metro system with black and white photos of this and the opening. It has retained the ornate bronze border around the edge. Stunning.
Apologies if I’ve got any of the busts in the metro wrong, as it was largely done via Google Translate, since most information is in either Russian or Ukrainian. Let me know if there’s a mistake so I can change it.
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