Introduction to the Secret Metro of Bucharest
Piata Romana metro station is not like any other metro station found on the Bucharest Metro. Located in central Bucharest under Piața Romană which translates to Roman Square. What makes this metro so unique is the bulk of the platforms are less than 1 metre wide. Why was a metro station underneath a busy square constructed with such narrow and dangerous platforms?
History of the Secret Metro Station
The Bucharest Metro was first opened for service on 16th of November 1979 under the approval of Romania’s former communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu. The second metro line (Line M2) was in the works and plans that were drawn up for the line were shown to Nicolae’s wife Elena Ceaușescu in 1985.
The engineers weren’t as shocked to hear criticism from the dictator’s wife who was known for coming up with her own farfetched theories as an illiterate scientist. Elena complained that the working class and the youth of Bucharest had “started to get fat” and “needed to walk more” and “there are too many stations, stop them!”.
The engineers of the metro project received an order from the Communist Party to exclude at least one station from the scheme, which at the time was almost impossible because there were already few stations planned. The team decided to eliminate one station, but only on paper, which to them was considered the most important station of the line. The engineers felt obliged to replace it.
The secret construction of the subway station were to begin in 1986, in direct violation of the comrade’s order, undermining Elena Ceaușescu. The workers who officially worked on the section of the University Square – Victoriei Square prepared the land in the area on the hush-hush around Piața Romană which would become the secret metro station.
They constructed long thick walls along the track lines to conceal the works that were taking place behind. Platforms, stairs and entrances to the above ground were made entirely in secret. In a staggering record time of only 3 months the job was done!
The M2 line was officially opened on the 24th October 1987. Trains would whiz past the secret metro station without any suspicion. This would continue for a year.
Eventually, word got around and thousands of residents wrote a petition to open the secret metro station for good. The thick walls along the track line were knocked down, and the secret station was officially opened on the 28th November 1988 – a year before both Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu were executed by their own people during the Romanian Revolution and the fall of communism in Romania.
Where to find the secret metro?
For those who want to explore this fascinating secret metro you can easily board the subway from Piața Unirii located in the center of town and also located near old town. Ride two stations north on the M2 line and disembark at Piața Romană