Living in Colorado for a few years now I have heard some of the controversies about whether Denver has an underground city. I did some searching and couldn’t find anything concrete, however, I did find quite a bit of information about other cities around the world that do have underground cities. Thus, I decided to share this information and hope you may find it interesting too. If you know of or want to share other underground cities, please feel free to share in the comments below.
The Seattle Underground is a network of underground passageways and basements in the Pioneer Square neighborhood. They were located at ground level when the city was built in the mid-19th century but fell into disuse after the streets were elevated. In recent decades they have become a tourist attraction, with guided tours taking place around the area. We actually visited Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour in Seattle. It was cool Here are a few of the other cities I found:
Montreal houses the largest underground complex in the world known as The Indoor City or La Ville Souterriane. Over 32 kilometers of tunnels contain shopping malls, subway stations, commuter train stations, apartments, condominiums, museums, universities, and even an amphitheater. The city started as an underground shopping mall and was expanded as Montreal’s subway system was built.
Derinkuyu is located at depths up to 85 feet deep and is home to no less than 36 underground cities. Their residents moved underground to escape invaders in Byzantine times as the Roman Empire was collapsing. The cities contained churches, kitchens, and wine and oil presses. Some historical sources indicate that underground cities may have existed in the area several centuries before Christ. It is also said to have possibly held more than 20,000 people. This underground city opened to the public in 1965 and about 10% of it is accessible for visitors to explore.
The city is really an aqueduct and transportation tunnel built about 1,000 years ago. The island contains one of the world’s 10 most beautiful beaches and many popular shopping malls. Today, this small Iranian island in the Persian Gulf is a very popular tourist attraction.
Coober Pedy, South Australia
Known as the opal capital of the world, this town is considered as an underground city because many of the residents live in caves. The residents moved underground because the temperature in the region often exceeds 40 degrees Celsius in the summer.
I’m sure I don’t have to say much about this, but these Berlin Bunkers were built to shelter the residents from the air raids during WWII and also served as defensive shelters during the Cold War Nuclear conflict. Today the bunkers are an insight into the horrors of World War II and therefore now serve as museums run by Berliner Unterwelten eV.
Pilsen, Czech Republic
We actually saw some of these cellar pathways on our tour of the Pilsner Urquell tour. What I didn’t know was that it was only a small part of their underground city. While doing research for this post, I found out the passageway is actually 12.5 miles and was built in the 14th century. I think it’s cool that they are still used today. We actually had a beer in one of the underground areas. If you want to take an actual tour of the passageway way, you will get to visit the ice cellar, the water tower, and an exhibit on medieval bookbinding. The tour ends at the brewery museum which is close to where we enjoyed our beer. If you take the above tour, you will also get a beer sample. Great way to end a tour, right? 🙂
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Known as the Edinburgh Vaults, or sometimes the South Bridge Vaults, this underground city in Scotlands capital is a series of chambers formed within the 19 arches of South Bridge. This area was originally built to house taverns, cobblers, smelters, and other vendors. After the tradesman moved out, some of the poorer locals moved in and it became known as skid row.
Built as a vast bomb shelter located underneath China’s capital, Dixia Cheng was built during the 1970s when China’s leader, Mao Zedong, feared a nuclear war with his enemies in the Soviet Union. The city contained restaurants, theaters, schools, clinics, factories, a mushroom farm, and even a roller-skating rink.
In Portland, Oregon this underground city is named Shanghai Tunnels or sometimes the Portland Underground. Once consisting of tunnel passageways liking Portlands Old Town to the central Downtown area. While many are closed today, you can still take a safe and secure walking tour to explore and get a sense of the complex network of tunnels they used.
This underground salt mine is located in Wieliczka, about 9 miles outside of Krakow. A note of history, this salt mine has been producing table salt continuously since 2007. Anyway, these dark caves now comprise over 185 miles of galleries, 3000 chambers, and nine floors in which the public can access the first three. There are many tour options for exploring the caves depending on your interest, including history tours and religious tours.
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