Underground cities are quite the phenomenon and they are a spectacle to watch. While many of them have become abandoned and obsolete hence being lost in history, thanks to renovations, some of them have become subterranean worlds drawing tourists from all over the world. Others have even become functional urban spaces where people live. These cities have thrived through the ages and still retain their awe and mystery, being shrouded in rumors and urban legends. Take a look at these underground cities from all over the world which you had no idea existed.
Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain
This marvelous Spanish town isn’t actually underground, well at least not entirely, this is because the area is made up of several mountains and the residents built their houses right into the sides of the mountain. The town is carved directly into the stone walls with large rocks hanging above the houses making it ideal as a fort and it is believed it was used by the Roman Empire as such. It is also ideal to keep the houses cool during summer and warm during winter. The town is very much alive to date and it houses more than 3000 people.
Moose Jaw Tunnels, Saskatchewan, Canada
Moose Jaw is a Canadian term meaning winter lasts too long. This winter cold during the early twentieth century is what compelled the construction of the underground tunnels beneath the city to escape the cold and get some warmth beneath the city. These warm tunnels were mostly used by workers in their travels. However, soon after, the tunnels became famous for all the wrong reasons as a host of illegal activities took over. Mobsters, bootleggers, gamblers and prostitutes made it their den given that the authorities at the time prohibited a lot of activities including drinking. The tunnels earned the nickname The Chicago Connection as Al Capone was heavily linked with it, however, no solid proof exists.
City of the Gods, the Great Pyramid of Giza
This magnificent site is a wonder of the ancient world. While the pyramids themselves are breathtaking enough to see, it is believed by some that under the Giza Plateau lies something just as magnificent, that is, an extensive series of underground tunnels and chambers. Since 1967, various researchers have tried to map out the underground tunnels and there are many mysteries still shrouding it. It has been given the nickname the City of the Gods but this notion is disproved by many scientists. It is obviously going to be a while before the vast treasures that lie underneath the pyramids are unearthed as the Pyramids would not be so easily destroyed.
Shanghai Tunnels, Portland, United States
The Shanghai Tunnels are located beneath Chinatown, Portland. The extensive underground tunnels were initially built to transport goods and cargo from ships to the underground basements for easy storage as it got rid of the problem of rain and heavy traffic which caused delays. However, back then, the tunnels became known for human trafficking, which was called ‘Shanghaiing’—kidnapping men for forced labor aboard ships and selling them off to slavery. It also became a hub for prostitution and several other illegal activities. However, right now the tunnel is safe and one can walk freely viewing the magnificent site with little fear of being kidnapped.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
The Wieliczka Salt Mine was developed in the early 13th Century, and it consistently produced salt till 2007. Rumor has it that the mine was used by Germans during the World War II to make ammunition. The vast mine, measuring186 miles also housed several other magnificent structures like chapels, statues and even a cathedral. This underground salt city also contains an underground lake and it is a major tourist attraction site in Poland with over one million tourists going to see it yearly.
Coober Pedy, Australia
This underground city is famously known for its opal production and it is rightly known as the opal capital of the planet. Opal was discovered here in 1915 and it has been consistently mined for the gemstones since then. Apart from the mine shafts and dugouts, Coober Pedy also houses several magnificent structures such as an underground church, shops and pubs. To this date, the town still thrives and it houses close to 1600 residents. Its underground homes are called “dugouts” and were primarily built to counter the excessive heat on the surface hence allowing the residents to enjoy some cool in the underground dugouts.
This mysterious underground city is found on the island of Kish, in Iran. The city goes by many names, with none of them being official. It has been called many names with the most popular one being the Kish underground city. This underground structure has been around for more than 2500 years and it was initially built as a water management system but it has now been renovated into the magnificent awe that it is. The city now boasts various underground shops, art galleries and restaurants and plans to renovate the 107,640 sq ft (10,000 sq m) complex further are still underway.
Burlington, United States
Burlington is an underground secret government facility that was built in the United States, in the 1950s, to house government officials and keep them safe in case of a nuclear attack. However, there was only one slight problem, the facility was only large enough to house the about 4000 government officials with no additional capacity to house their families. The underground fortress was built in an old stone quarry and covered 240 acres of underground space. Burlington was created to be a complete city with everything necessary in it. Almost no detail was left out in its planning. The city had everything one could imagine ranging from a railway station to stretches of roads, hospitals, recreational facilities such as pubs, a water treatment and even an underground lake. A BBC studio was also not left out from where the President would be able to address the nation while safe underground. The underground facility was kept in working order until 1991 when the Cold War ended.