Underground Travel Through the Drainage Systems of Kyiv

Никольская дренажная система

The progressive million-plus city of Kiev stands on the hills, and in order to avoid a landslide and people wouldn’t suffer, it was decided to involve engineers. They developed an intricate groundwater drainage system, securing the inhabitants of the city. These systems stretch for many kilometers, and some of them have tremendous stories and are even wrapped in legends.

The history of the underground Kiev

Almost the entire area of ​​Kiev under the ground is riddled with drainage galleries. They may have several tiers, converging in wells, waterfalls. The Askoldov system, which is located in the Arsenalnaya metro area, is considered to be the most extensive and confusing. Drainage gallery systems (DGS) have many exits to the surface, especially in the hills.

Дренажные системы Киева

Almost all Kiev DGS’ are created according to the one project. This is a trapezoidal gallery, which is collected from concrete ribs. Sometimes the integrity of the walls is violated by pipes that drain water from the surface and from aquifers. Older systems have an arched vault, for example, the Nikolskaya DGS is a vivid example of that period. Its length is only two kilometers, and it was built in 1916.

Дренажные системы Киева
Дренажные системы Киева

All systems are under the auspices of the Special Directorate of Anti-Groundworking Underground Works (SUPPR), which divided the capital into sections and conducts permanent inspections of the state of the tunnels. In fact, each such tunnel is a recreated model of a karsts cave, so here you can often find the real stalactites, cave pearls and stalagmites, and bats even found a refuge here, crashing into the diggers who decide to scare them away with lantern light.

Kiev Urbex Tour to tunnels and Bunker are waiting for you! Join our adventure!

Nikolskaya drainage gallery

These labyrinths were built back in 1916, and received a serial number of the DS 17-bis. Above one of the entrances to the tunnels you can still find a memorial sign with the emblem of the Ministry of Railways. But this place is now partially flooded, and you can get there by climbing to the waist in the water. By the way, the adit got its name due to diggers, who expressed their respect for Nicholas II in this way.

Никольская дренажная система
Никольская дренажная система

Labyrinths are built in a dead face, and preserve the integrity and strength even after a hundred years.

Никольская дренажная система

From a historical point of view, this is the most interesting mazes. Nikolskaya bunk, but to get to the second floor is possible only through a six-meter well. Today, two new ones have been added to the adit, the AL 17 bis, this helps to reduce the load on the old mazes and drain them if necessary. The mounting chamber of the tunnel shield of the 17-bis gallery has the form of a round tunnel of concrete tubings with rails.

Никольская дренажная система

Part of the Nikolskaya can be confused with the underground river, especially if we consider the 22-meter Tsarsky Well, through which water from the Askoldovoy DSB flows into the Nikolskaya. The well has a diameter of six meters, and the water from it eventually flows into the Dnieper through the cascade gallery. Here is located one of the exits to the surface of the legendary tunnels.

Никольская дренажная система
Никольская дренажная система
Никольская дренажная система

The second tier of Nikolskaya is not refined, so there is a completely different atmosphere, which is created by brick walls with monograms of the owner of the plant on each brick. The masonry betrays the talent of the masters of the last century, and the fact of preservation is really impressive.

Askoldov drainage System

If you have ever paid attention to the heavy iron doors along the slopes above the Dnipro, then you already know about entering the Askoldov tunnels. Through it, including groundwater discharged into Dnipro in order to avoid landslides.

Дренажная система Аскольдова
Дренажная система Аскольдова

Askoldov was built by the “classic” Kiev style, using a trapezoidal gallery, where the ribs were set manually in a dead face.

Дренажная система Аскольдова

Partially this system, just like Nikolska, was built in the 19th century, therefore, in the oldest parts of the labyrinths one can find characteristic arches. Probably, it initially served to divert the groundwater of the Military Nikolsky, which doesn’t exist since the 1930s. Askoldov even contains a wall made entirely of stone! And all this is located next to the modern part, where ornate underground tunnels are lined with concrete tubings, which are used for the construction of the metro.

Дренажная система Аскольдова

Kiev dungeons have many secrets, but under the guidance of an experienced guide, they can easily be unraveled. Do you want to see stalactite in a dungeon under a megacity and try to solve it – is it a whisper of a stranger or just drops of an underground waterfall? Then we invite you on excursions to Nikolskaya and Askoldov. 🙂



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