Underground cities in the world enjoy a chequered past. Its meandering and complex history can be traced back to the Ancient Era in Europe and the Middle East to the ones that were set up when the Cold War was at its peak. The major reason behind digging underground cities was primarily for protection. These subterranean spaces were closed by rolling heavy boulders at their entry point. The chambers below were ventilated through so-called fairy chimneys. Smoke from these cities used to rise to the surface many miles away from the area.
In modern times too, many underground cities were established, like Beijing’s Underground City. Lately, these below-the-surface spaces are more of a network of tunneled roads or shopping centres. Some countries are also in the process of establishing subterranean futuristic cities. In countries where space is a major restraint, such cities can prove to be very crucial for human settlements.
Ancient tunnels, secret or hidden passageways, and an aura of mystery make people curious about this hidden world. From defense to desperation, these secret underground cities have a story to tell. Have a look at the top nine unforeseen cities that exist beneath the surface of the earth.
1. Explore the Underground Realms of Cappadocia
Cappadocia in Turkey, known for its lunar-like region, has no less than 36 underground cities. Out of these 36 cities, Derinkuyu is the most impressive and deepest of all. The city remained hidden from the world until 1963. Criss-crossing passages and tunnels built in the 8th century were used as a shelter in times of war. It is a self-sufficient metropolis, peppered with wells, ventilation shafts, school rooms, kitchens, a bathhouse, a winery, oil presses, and a living space spread over 18-stories to accommodate 20,000 people. The major highlight of this underground city is its cruciform church. Only 10 percent area of this city is accessible to visitors.
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2. Discover The Complex World of Tunnels in Portland
Shanghai Tunnels, also known as the Portland Underground, is another one on our list of hidden underground cities. Numerous tunnels have created an intricate subterranean network linking the Old Town area of Portland with the Central Downtown area. Today, many of these tunnels have ceased to exist due to several ongoing public works projects. Only a few are open for visitors to explore. In the erstwhile times, it linked the basement portions of many hotels and bars with the Willamette River waterfront. It facilitated the movement of supplies from docked ships to storage basements directly without the movement getting hampered due to heavy traffic or rains. Rumours were that the tunnels were used for kidnapping or shanghaiing people and forcing them to serve as sailors. Enjoy a walking tour of these tunnels and enjoy a glimpse of the complex tunnel network.
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3. Take A Glimpse Into The Seamy History of Naours, the Underground City
The Underground City of Naours in France is a complicated labyrinth of approximately 300 man-made rooms. It was set up to be used as a quarry, but soon it developed as a secret village for refuge and defence reasons. We can trace the history of this underground civilization back to the third century AD. It was dotted with wells, chapels, and stables and had enough space to accommodate approximately 3000 people.
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4. Check Out The Impressive Galleries of Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
Built-in the 1200s using rock salt, the Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow is an impressive underground city. Over the years, the miners added new portions to the city and expanded it into 185 miles of 300 chambers and incredible galleries spread over nine stories. Miners used their spare time to build awe-inspiring chandeliers, chapels, and a detailed replica of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper using salt crystal deposits. They used this Underground Salt Cathedral for 700 years before halting rock salt production.
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5. Reveal The Secrets of the Lost City, Petra