Most of mankind prefers cities above ground to settle in, the keyword here is ‘most’. Some liked their cities to be below the ground. We here have caught wind of some unique and hidden underground cities which were frequented by a variety of people. Read on as we take you down the lanes built down under! By Quoyina Ghosh
1. Derinkuyu, Cappadocia
If someone casually wishes to drill 250 metres down into the ground, their wish would usually yield nothing, but if the place they choose to drill into is Cappadocia, Turkey, they’ll find themselves faced with a whole new city namely, Derinkuyu. This is a fascinating city built for a population of up to 20,000 people. Derinkuyu contains in it, various amenities which includes a tricky water containment system, cellars, wine presses, and etc. A unique cruciform church is also present in there. Alongside this, protective amenities can also be found which they possibly needed to armour themselves against the various invasions they had to face. If a cool trip down under to barrel-vaulted ceilings, churches, 18-storey interiors is something you fancy, look nowhere else!
2. Edinburgh Vaults
Originally built for storing materials necessary for tradesmen, for taverns or for workshops, these vaults later fell into the monopoly of the homeless and the criminals. A dark, damp world found within the 19 arches of South Bridge in Scotland, these vaults are a renowned hotspot for scandals of all kinds. Notwithstanding the illegal distilleries and taverns, legend has it that serial killers Burke and Hare would use these vaults back in the day. It was also through these tunnels that Cristian Raducanu evaded the police long enough to seek political asylum during the Romanian Revolution. Also, hey, if you’re (un)lucky enough, you might just bump into a ghost or two seeing as these vaults are known to be their favourite hang!
3. Wieliczka Salt Mine
A part of the UNESCO heritage sites in the world, Wieliczka Salt Mine began working back in the 13th century when miners first descended down under. What was once just a cave, began to slowly transform into the mesmerising sight that it is now. Apart from the beautiful corridors, staircases and lakes, it is also known for the grande religious constructions. This ‘Underground Salt Cathedral’ is known for its fantastic chapels, chandeliers and statues to name a few. Fancy a Da Vinci? Well, a superbly detailed replica of ‘The Last Supper’ can also be found in these mines.
4. Beijing Underground City
The 1960s and 1970s saw a giant threat of nuclear war slowly winding its steely fingers around everyone’s necks. It was a time of great political unrest and heeding the political ambience, Beijing took to building an underground city to safeguard their residents. This hand-dug site named Dixia Cheng is known to have the capacity to guard up to one million people in it. With hospitals, schools, restaurants, granaries and even a 1,000-seater theatre, this site could protect the people in there for up to four months. This (thankfully) unused city still sits there decaying and completely hidden beneath the city above.
5. Tunnels of Moose Jaw
Think Chinese immigrants, think Al Capone and suddenly these sleepy streets of Moose Jaw, Canada will seem electric with a fascinating history. Back at the start of the 20th century, due to high taxes levied on the Chinese, they were forced below grounds. Back then, the tunnels of Moose Jaw were what they had to resort to in the name of a ‘home’. Moreover, rumour has it that amidst them, prohibition era cross-border bootlegging would be a commonplace occurrence headlined by none other than Scarface!