May 17, 2015

The Stunning Secret of Politehnica Metro Station, Bucharest

By on Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Politehnica metro station in Romania’s capital city of Bucharest, near the Politehnica University of Bucharest, sees relatively little traffic, but is still used by thousands of subway passengers each day. Its pink marble floors are trodden over by the feet of thousands of students of the Politehnica University and those of the Faculty of Journalism of the University of Bucharest, as well as the workers of the Apaca textiles factory and the employees of Vodafone Romania, whose headquarter is located nearby.

The station’s marble floors are stained with odd patterns, not usually seen in marble slabs. Yet, aside from the occasional casual glance, few passengers have paid any real attention to these markings. Fewer have stopped to gaze at and appreciate these shapes and fewer still have pondered on its mystery. Many would stop dead in their tracks if you are to tell them they are treading on 80-million-year-old fossils.
The Politehnica subway station was built in 1983, during the country’s communist rule, and it was decorated with limestone slabs harvested from the Apuseni Mountains. At that time nobody knew that the strange, beautiful shapes visible on the slabs are nothing but fossils of prehistoric beings. Many still don’t know about it. A Romanian history blogger shared the following picture describing the stone floors as “ornamental” and “decorative” with no inkling of the marble’s true origin. A search for “Politehnica station fossils” on one of the most popular image sharing website Flickr, draws a blank.

Most of these fossils belong to a group of organism called rudists, that lived in shallow marine environments from the Late Jurassic to the Late Cretaceous periods. The Apuseni Mountains were created during this time period due to the convergence of the Tisia and the Dacia microplates. As the plates collided, the mountain rose from the sea carrying all marine animals living in the shallow waters. Over millions of years their exoskeleton and bodies became fossilized in limestone.

A geology professor from the University of Bucharest said that all metro stations in Bucharest are covered with slabs of limestone containing fossils from different geological periods. Unfortunately, the state of preservation, density and visibility of these fossils are lower than those in the Politehnica metro station. Geologists agree that the fossils embedded in the marble slabs of the subway station has immeasurable scientific value.

According to a 2014 article published on, Bucharest metro operator Metrorex plans to install interactive screens inside the station highlighting the station’s history and explaining the different fossils that will allow passengers and visitors to take “interactive paleontology classes inside the metro station.”


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