For those who have seen the film Borat, Kazakhstan (however unfairly) often brings to mind a country without much economic progress or social innovation.
Now, a beautiful new transit system in the country’s largest city, Almaty, shows just how faulty Sacha Baron Cohen’s depiction of the former Soviet republic truly was.
Last month, after 23 years in the making, the country unveiled the world’s newest subway system. According to English Russia, construction of the Almaty Metro began in 1988, but ceased after the fall of the USSR. Production resumed in 2005 and finally, on December 1, 2011, the system opened its doors to the eagerly awaiting public.
Putting New York City Transit to shame, the seven stations of the Almaty Metro are sparklingly clean and complete with stained glass windows, marble floors and intricate mosaics. Stainless steel trains equipped with air conditioning and surveillance cameras arrive at the stations every 15 minutes.
The system currently consists of just one line that runs five miles though the city’s center, but plans for an expansion in upcoming years are underway.
Although the hope is that future lines won’t take quite as long as the first to complete, for a system as elaborate as the Almaty Metro, another 23 years could be well worth the wait.
Images: English Russia
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com