The Metro System in Bucharest
Our travellers ask us frequently for metro maps. We keep telling them, it’s easy to find your way around the metro here, even without a map. The main lines are just 2, and the citizens of the city don’t even know their names or colours, because changing lines and getting to where you need to go is that easy. We posted a map of the metro system in Bucharest in the “Maps” section of our website, just in case people want to check it out before they get here.
For the most curious of them, here is some information about the metro, both historical and practical, to say nothing of the funny parts.
Our underground system is bigger than the ones in Amsterdam, Budapest and Prague. It stretches over 68.2 km and there are 4 lines with a total of 49 stations (2 main lines and 2 secondary). Another line is under construction right now, a line that will connect the Otopeni airport to the centre of the city. The station ”Costin Georgian” is named not after a big personality, as it is the custom, but after the director of Metrorex (the underground company). The “Politehnica” station is a museum per se. It was opened in 1983 and because they were in a big hurry to start using it, they didn’t care how it was paved. Thus, this station is paved with marble slabs that contain fossils from the Jurassic period, 180.000 years ago, quarried from the Rosia, in the Apuseni mountains ( yes, the same Rosia they are fighting over right now, for the gold they can find there).
The underground water is very close to the surface of the earth here in Bucharest so the system of slabs that were supposed to stop the water infiltrating in the metro stations had to be very good. It is so good that one time, during an official visit, the Russians tried to steal the secret from us; they didn’t succeed. The `Piata Romana` station (the same one you gave to get off at, in order to get to our hostel) was very controversial. The Ceausescus didn’t agree to it`s building because they said the people were becoming fat so they needed to walk more, so the metro stations should have been farther apart. But the construction specialists built it all the same, only they walled up the exits. After one year, the citizens of Bucharest sent so many letters, asking for this station to be built, that they had to finally agree. This is when the builders just tore down parts of the walls and so the station was “built” in record time. This is why `Piata Romana` appears to be made of arcades right now, and the space is very narrow in this station. This is the story we found reading the below quoted source. We take it with a grain of salt, considering that during Ceausescu’s time one couldn’t even whisper something against the regime without being found and jailed, let alone build “in secret” a whole huge metro station. Food for thought!
The first day the metro was used, in Bucharest, was 19th of November 1979.
Source: The Newspaper “Adevarul”