5 spectacular underground cities around the world

From the need to protect themselves in times of crisis, people have built hundreds of underground cities all over the world. Some have been excavated thousands of years ago, by long-lost peoples, and they have a majestic architecture.

Others have been built recently and, surprisingly, they are still sheltering large groups of people. In this article we present five underground cities, built in different epochs, which are exceptional engineering achievements.

1. The majestic Petra

Underground Cities - Petra

Known as the “City of the Rose” or “The Lost City” (because it is carved in pink limestone and a mystery for the whole world), Petra, Jordan, is under 85%.

It is believed that this magnificent settlement was built by nabteans in the second century, in the midst of the desert. The city, where many movies have been cast, has been designated one of the seven new wonders of the world and is on the UNESCO heritage list.

The settlement comprises hundreds of houses, obelisks, temples, and a 800-foot monastery cut into stone. There is also a Roman-style amphitheater, which could accommodate up to 3,000 people.

All of this is in the explored part of the city, and what’s underground is still a mystery. In 2016, with the help of the satellites, the archaeologists discovered a large structure , unknown until then, buried under the sand of Petra.

2. Underground Cities – Naours

Underground Cities - Naours 01

Underneath the French city of Naours there is a 300-room settlement. The complex, dating back to the 3rd century, has 28 galleries and is equipped with everything to survive: fountains, bakeries, chapels and stables.

Over time, the city was used as a shelter against the invaders. The most intense was used during the Thirty Years’ War, between 1618 and 1648.

The villagers of Naours were housed here, along with their animals, by the armies of the north of France.

Underground Cities - Naours 02

Then, as Europe became more stable and more secure, forgetting lay over the settlement.It was rediscovered in 1887 by a man who renovated his home and became an important tourist attraction.

During the First World War, the city was used for recreation. This was where soldiers engaged in the Battle of Somme spent their free time.

Naours was visited especially by Australian soldiers who engraved their names on the walls. More than 2,000 Australians signed on the stone walls, some mentioning the battalions they belonged to, and even home addresses.

3. Nushabad, three-level settlement

Underground Cities - Nushabad 01

Nushabad is one of the most famous underground cities. It was built by the Persians 1,500 years ago on Iran’s territory today to protect itself from invasions.

Considered an architectural wonder, the city stretches across three levels and has numerous tunnels, rooms, vents, water pipes, toilets, and even traps for invaders.

Every family that had been here had a room of her, which was connected to other rooms by a corridor. The city’s tunnels had openings in several important meeting areas.

4. Underground Mega-City in Beijing

Underground Cities - Beijing 01

One of the entrances to the underground city of Beijing

The Cold War and the nuclear threat have led to the construction of many underground cities. In the early 1970s, Beijing authorities built a settlement to house six million people in the event of a nuclear attack by the USSR.

Between 1969 and 1979, 300,000 workers worked to build this underground settlement.The city has 85 square kilometers, and the 90 access ways have been concealed in various shops, houses and surface areas.

Underground Cities - Beijing 02

In this mega-shelter, clinics, theaters, factories, schools, restaurants, warehouses and even an ice rink were built. Engineers identified areas where wells could be dug and created 2,300 ventilation wells. In the case of a chemical attack, these wells could be sealed.

After the Cold War is over, the primary purpose of the city has disappeared. Some of his structures have been turned into cheap hotels, theaters and shopping centers.

Many residents use it to avoid extreme temperatures because the shelter remains warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The city has never been used for the purpose for which it was thought, but has not yet been abandoned.

5. Ramenki 43, the Russian underground city

Underground Cities - Ramenki

Ramenki-43 is an underground city located in Moscow, built in the mid-1980s. The settlement is at a depth of 180 meters and is one of those underground cities whose purpose was to protect the population from a nuclear attack.

An article in the Times magazine first mentioned the existence of this city in the Ramenki district, southwest of the Russian capital, near the headquarters of the Moscow State University. Under the pseudonym “KGB officer,” the journalist who wrote the article said he had participated in the construction of the city.

According to him, Ramenki-43 was supposed to serve as a shelter for 15,000 people in the event of nuclear war. It had enough facilities and supplies for three decades.

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