Graffiti Underground: Abandoned Metro Station in Bratislava

Taking a metro is something you are not likely to do in Bratislava. Tramway, sure, the old one and the futurist one as well – but never underground. Still, that was the plan in the seventies – like all the plans of the era, this one also failed. Read on to discover an abandoned depo and what was to be a Bratislava metro station in this weeks´ photostory.

In the epoch of communist steal fist, panel houses were growing from the fertile Slovak mud as some cancerous pale mushrooms. Soon, these buildings that were still missing the final touch (like bathtubs, water taps and such) filled with families desperate for an apartment – the dream that many were waiting for for too long already.

metro station bratislava
There is little evidence left that there was supposed to be an underground station here…

And so a new Petrzalka came to life; a chaotic mess of square streets, buildings that seemed to be Lego pieces that somebody has bleached and then thrown on the grass south of Danube, piles of construction dirt ten meters high. All of this to replace the lush apricot orchards and their smell, carried by the breeze along with the humming of bees and bugs, but more importantly, to replace the past, the history of places and put namelessness and facelessness in its place.

More of abandoned Bratislava: Explore the huge&decaying hospital of Rázsochy!

graffitti in an abandoned metro station janikov dvor in Bratislava slovakia
Dirty concrete walls are covered in graffitti – at least for someone this place is useful.

As the mass of people settled, a new problem arised; a logistic one. A metro was more than needed and in 1985, the construction began. However, the fading power of the communist government wasn´t able to finish this proud project and after the Iron Curtain finally disappeared from the map, the metro dream was shattered. It´s shards are to be found at the outskirts of Petrzalka, hiding under the Panónska cesta like a shy troll.

graffitti in Janikov dvor metro Bratislava Slovakia
“I was here”

Instead of the metro, this year (2016) the Slovak capital was finally able to construct a tramway serving the vast population of this neighborhood, more than 50 years after such project was conceived. Those who were first in need of a way of transport between their homes and offices are retired already, however, it´s opening was gleeful. Some dreams take long to become reality and some never do, but you can be sure the first time I will ride this tram, I will feel like I have not just crossed Danube, but the blurry line between past and future.

Visiting for the first (or second) time? Check out my locals guide to Bratislava or find out beautiful places around Danube to explore on a bicycle!

A sprinkle of fairy dust on the leaves.
A sprinkle of fairy dust on the leaves.
Depo of the abandoned metro construction site in Janikov dvor, Bratislava, Slovakia.
When the sun comes out this place gets sort of charming.
Depo of the abandoned metro construction site in Janikov dvor, Bratislava, Slovakia.
I know, but they taste awful. It´s just by the road.
Depo of the abandoned metro construction site in Janikov dvor, Bratislava, Slovakia.
A tunnel for all the Alices looking for a Wonderland?
Depo of the abandoned metro construction site in Janikov dvor, Bratislava, Slovakia.
This place is now a legal space for all street art and graffitti makers.
Depo of the abandoned metro construction site in Janikov dvor, Bratislava, Slovakia.
Back to the Future a bit different
Depo of the abandoned metro construction site in Janikov dvor, Bratislava, Slovakia.
Hanging around in sandals is not ideal.
Depo of the abandoned metro construction site in Janikov dvor, Bratislava, Slovakia.
Somebody can´t be bothered by cleaning up after themselves.
Depo of the abandoned metro construction site in Janikov dvor, Bratislava, Slovakia.
Not much else left here.
Powerpuff girl graffitti
Haven´t seen that girl in a long time.
Depo of the abandoned metro construction site in Janikov dvor, Bratislava, Slovakia.
The tunnel is full of water and I couldn´t bring myself to get in that mud. Probably what´s left of my reason has stopped me.
Depo of the abandoned metro construction site in Janikov dvor, Bratislava, Slovakia.
Wondering how would it feel to take a metro from here to the downtown.

Want to explore more communist stuff? Read my local´s guide to communist architecture in Bratislava!

Depo of the abandoned metro construction site in Janikov dvor, Bratislava, Slovakia.
A little more me.

This is what one of the plans for the Bratislava metro looked like:

Bratislava metro plan
Most of these lines are operated by tramways today. Source: Wikipedia

In fact, there is even one metro stop in a building on Dostojevskeho rad street – as the plans for the metro in a faraway future have never been completely abandoned, the investor was bound by the state to construct it.

Explore an abandoned hospital of Razsochy in this post!

How to get there?

The metro station is at the south end of Petrzalka, under a big road (look for “Panónska cesta”) at a place called Janíkov dvor, near a Lidl supermarket. If you have problems finding it, you can follow the instructions in the map of my Bratislava guide – look for the Abandoned metro station point and follow the directions from there.

Does your hometown have a metro system? What abandoned building have you explored lately? What do you think of decaying constructions like this one? Should they be removed or are they valuable?

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  1. Sophia

    This is so interesting! And I love your photo essay, you look like a beautiful lost gypsy exploring the underground! This really makes me consider all the places around me that people may have overlooked, just as this station has been overlooked. Thanks for inspiring me!

  2. What an amazing photo essay Karin!

    Loved the insight and the history behind all of this. Good to see that what was conceived for something, turned out to become an amazing art display!

    Enjoyed this very much and I hope to see this someday live in Bratislava!

    • Actually, the local street art/graffiti scene is just doing some first baby steps…it is very recently that the city starts to create some legal graffiti space, before, there was nowhere to do it although many places have ugly walls – like roads, bridges and tunnels – that could use some color! So I am watching it with interest 😉

  3. See, this covers two of my minor niches/obsessions -> street art, and abandoned places (and furthermore I have a particular specific interest in Dead Railway Lines). 🙂

    You mention one spot where a station was built – do you know how much of the metro was actually constructed, rather than remained just in the planning stage? Are there concrete viaducts and derelict embankments/cuttings all across the city, or are there just a couple of spots where construction started?

    I love places like this, and I really like that the local government have accepted what was always likely to happen and said “you can paint here”; for a place like this for which there are no immediate plans to clear up (II know how you feel with the sandals!), people are always going to use it as a place to graffiti so makes more sense to make it ‘legal’ than to spend time trying to clear it up all the time.
    In general, I always feel there’s something quite ‘imposing’ about abandoned places, especially ex-industrial/commercial ones. It’s the way that no matter what we, as humans, do in the world, nature will always win in the end. Around where I live there’s quite a lot of places like that – it’s old coal-mining country in Northern England – so there’s the ruins of old collieries, the sites of factories of related industries, and old railway lines long abandoned and overgrown. It makes me feel quite small.

    • Thanks for stopping by! Well, this metro system didn´t get very far so there is this end station you see on the photos and then there is a corridor (looks like an empty canal basically) that goes across that part of the city, where the railway was supposed to go. This area is still classified as a place where there will be transport construction so nobody can build there, but recently they have built a tramway line to cross Danube and maybe (just maybe) this will eventually continue and the tram will go this way, as there is space enough and all that.
      I hope that kindda answers your question!
      If you feel like abandoned places are imposing, you should definitely check out the abandoned hospital of Razsochy if you ever go to Bratislava because that place is really mental. It´s HUGE. And it is not likely that it will get finished any soon.
      Northern England also sounds like an interesting spot to explore!

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