Visiting new cities is always a fun thing to do. But what happens when those cities are underground? Yes, such cities exist! Many cities over the course of time have been created below the ground for a variety of reasons: war, heat, fear, war, more war; you get the drift. We give you a list of the ones that are the most interesting and worth a visit. Here are some of the most amazing underground cities around the world:
1. Coober Pedy, Australia
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Located in South Australia, 846 km north of the city of Adelaide, this interesting underground city is still a favorite place for locals to save themselves from the oppressive heat and dingoes of Australian summer. Popularly known as the opal capital of the world (a large quantity of opals is mined here), Coober Pedy has dugouts (2 and 3 room caves) where people come and stay to enjoy the cool underground temperature. In fact, this city even has shops, pubs, church and a graveyard! Creepy!
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2. Berlin Underground City, Germany
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To find the real Berlin you have to go underground- says Dietmar Arnold. When you visit this secret underground city of Germany, you realize how apt the saying is. Built during the air raid of 1945, Berlin Underground city used to be the refuge for many working-class Berlin neighborhoods. Made up of 1000 interconnected bunkers, this city offers a testament to the wartime. You can still see rusted ammunition scattered on the floor, the age old phosphorescent arrows and the Nazi murals. The bunkers have bedrooms, bathrooms and even a labour room for women.
3. Matmata, Tunisia
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Located in the southern end of Tunisia, this small town of Matmata has a mesmerizing beauty that manages to attract visitors from all around the world. In fact, you can notice the hand painted signs for the troglodytes many miles before you reach the spot. The distinctive feature of Matmata is the caves that were dug out around the dug pits which are now used as rooms. It used to be the residence of the locals to save themselves from the scorching heat. However, the city was unknown until 1967. Today, the city has gained fame because of its underground dwelling. Hotel Sidi Driss in Matmata was used as a filming location for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope as Luke Skywalkers aunt and uncles house on the planet Tatooine. Nerds, here something to look forward!
4. Dixia Cheng, China
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Also named as the Underground Great Wall, this glorified bomb shelter is located in Beijing. Built in 1970, this underground city used to be the hideout for the local citizens to escape invasions, air raids or nuclear attack during the Cold War. The unknown part of this story is, the network of tunnels of this city was dug by hand of the locals. The entire city has around 90 entrances hidden in the back of the houses and can still give shelter to around 300,000 people for four months. For entertainment, restaurants, schools, theatres, clinics, factories and even a roller skating rink are there. Sounds amazing, right?
5. Derinkuyu, Turkey
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One of the five interconnected underground complexes in Turkey, Derinkuyu is unique in its own way. Located in the historical region of Cappadocia, Derinkuyu was carved out from the living rock. The volcanic rock of this region was soft enough to be dug out and create such beautiful underground cities. History says it was primarily used between 780-1180 during the Arab-Byzantine wars as protection against Muslin-Arabs. It was later re-used by early Christians as hideouts. The entire space area has the potential of housing 20,000 people. Till 20th century AD, the city was in use before turning into a tourist attraction. You can see stables, cellars, storage rooms and even chapels inside. The best part of the city is, a religious school was also there inside.
6. Petra, Jordan
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Carved into rocks, Petra is as old as the 2nd century. The tower-like structure is assumed to have been once used as a monastery or church that formerly was built as a temple. The city was inexistent to the world for hundreds of years and was recognized sometime in the 1800s.
7. Montreal, Canada
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No, this wasn't an ancestral construction to take refuge. This was built as an underground commercial complex. The complex is home to shopping malls, condominiums, museums, universities, an amphitheatre, commuter train stations, and apartments. Labeled as The Indoor City or La Ville Souterriane, the space first began as a shopping mall by itself and later expanded into so much.
8. Central Government War Headquarters, UK
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Designed to protect Her Majesty's Government in case of war in the 50s, the stone quarry in England could accommodate about 4000 people at a time. It featured the second largest telephone exchange in the UK and a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) station through which the Prime Minister would address the nation. The locales were unaware of this underground city until 1981.
9. Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain
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This underground city unlike the rest on the list still shelters about 3 thousand people in Spain. Setenil de las Bodegas is termed as an underground city because it features houses that are directly built into stone walls, precisely in the face of mountains. As the houses aren't entirely hidden, this isn't completely an underground city, however, factually it is.
10. Kish, Iran
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A petite Iranian island in the Persian Gulf that's a popular tourist destination, is home to an underground city as well. Although the buried city is only partially open to tourists, Kish gained fame as an attractive tourist spot because of it. The underground city is indeed beautiful and well maintained. The attractive architecture and ancient look is simply commendable.
11. Toronto, Canada
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Ontario in Toronto, Canada is home to a network of underground tunnels that lie beneath the streets of the city. This underground city is popularly known as PATH. These tunnels have an array of shops as well, that have contributed in making it the largest underground shopping complex in the Guinness book of records.
12. Portland, Oregon, USA
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Portland is home to the Shanghai Tunnels that was once used to transport goods. The tunnel shamed the city as it later was recognized for illegal activities like prostitution and kidnapping. For the same reason the tunnel was referred to as the Forbidden City. Today, it is safe to tour and explore the ancient beauty.
13. Kansas, USA
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The mysterious buried city that lies below the Kansas army town connects to a lot of buildings in the town. It is assumed the tunnels may have served as hideouts during war or were built to illegally store alcohol during the prohibition of alcohol in the city once upon a time. However, the true reason and hands behind these tunnels are still unknown.
14. Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, USA
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There was an underground city built beneath the Cheyenne Mountain as shelter for thousands of people during the disastrous nuclear attack. Some people still reside here. However, the city may be turned into a museum in near future.
The Pyramids of Giza are believed to have a network of tunnels and chambers beneath the massive ancient treasure, as well. They call it the City of The Gods. While these underground cities still exist in todays day and age, there are quite a few cities that couldn't make it to the present time. However, what matters is that the praiseworthy wit of our forefathers. We may think today that we have risen above them with technology and advanced means, but the fact is that they survived and survived well without all of these means we solely bank upon.
The underground journey to these historical sites will be like going to the cities under the cities. Explore the way and you might come across many more historical stories. These are just few Underground Cities Around the World. Feel free to add up with this list and start off your trip!