Old Metro

Budapest, Hungary


Anastasia Chukovskaya

Földalatti line has been in operation since 1896. It is the first line on the European mainland and the second oldest line in the world. It runs under Andrássy út straight from Vörösmarty tér, through the Museum of Fine Arts to Mexikói ut. The line was launched on a big public holiday - the thousandth anniversary of the arrival of the Magyars. The straightness of the line is a metaphor to history made by Magyars themselves (unlike the Soviet period, for example). The Magyar word földalatti is used only for this line. Other lines are scornfully called metro. Földalatti is not deep. During construction, it required digging out a tunnel under the avenue. The idea was not to allow a common tram to damage the solemn image of the avenue. Instead, it was hidden underground. Original steam-driven carriages are not used any more, but the new model has the same size: short attractive yellow trains run from a station to station. In 2002, földalatti was included in the UNSECO List of World Heritage Sites.


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