Prague’s metro serves about 1.5 million passengers a day, which, per capita, makes it among the most used in the world. The metro consists of three lines — A, B and C — each with its own unique architectural style, and stations creatively reflecting the notable features of the cityscape above. Calls for a metro system date back to the turn of the century, but construction finally commenced under communism in 1974, when Prague was the capital of Czechoslovakia. Many of the subterranean structures offer a compelling, and beautiful, glimpse into the city’s past–while newer additions look optimistically to its future.
A terrifying 40 metres underground, Náměstí Republiky serves one of the city’s best-loved buildings, the Municipal House. The station was once characterised by shiny dark glass panels, which people called “TV screens”, but these were sadly destroyed during floods that devastated the city in 2002. Image: (c) IngolfBLN via Flickr
This city center station opened in 1978 and runs 28 meters underground. The colors of the panels tend to correspond to landmarks above ground, with Staroměstská’s red tunnel façade representing the revolutionary history of Old Town Square.
This singular station is one of the few with its platforms at street level. With its glass walls and exposure to daylight, Vyšehrad makes a pleasant change from its buried counterparts, and even boasts a view of nearby Hradčany Castle. Image: (c) b.newberry via Flickr
Opened in 2008, Střížkov is one of the city’s newer metro stations. Though the train platform is over six metres underground, one side of the steel structure rises impressively above ground for its entire length, an innovation that won it a European architectural award in 2009. Image: (c) markhealey via Flickr
Muzeum serves the National Museum and is located at the top end of Wenceslas Square. The station’s line A platforms provide a prime example of the colourful convex and concave aluminium panels that Prague’s metro has come to be known for. Image: (c) griff le riff via Flickr
On the edge of Prague’s Castle Gardens -- its aluminum panels are accordingly green -- Malostranska station is home to a copy of Matthias Bernaus Braun’s Baroque statue The Hope, which sits grandly at the top of the escalators, wishing passengers well as they descend.
Whilst excavating the exit tunnel for Můstek station, workers unearthed a small medieval bridge, which once connected the old and new towns (Můstek is Czech for “Little Bridge”). The bridge has been preserved and can be seen along the escalator exit at the northwest of Wenceslas Square. Image: (c) ahisgett via Flickr
Built to access the housing estates of Černý Most on Prague’s northeast edge, Rajská zahrada was opened in 1998 and the striking structure quickly became an influence in the architectural style of the surrounding area as it developed.