Beijing's Secret Underground City

China built a vast network of underground bomb shelters and tunnels under Beijing during the Cold War -dug mostly by hand. This "shadow city" was called Dixia Cheng.
Key to Dixia Cheng’s protective capabilities was the idea that this should be a stronghold where people could live – and for a long time. The plan was that it be able to house up to 40% of Beijing’s population, if not all of the city’s then 6 million inhabitants – or so it was claimed. The tunnels were extensively ventilated and the complex equipped with water well sites and grain storage reserves as well as medical and schooling facilities. Cafeterias and a movie theater were provided, and later even shopping areas and a roller skating rink.

Construction ceased in 1979, but parts of the underground city are being used by vendors and other businesspeople. The government must soon decide whether to destroy the underground shelters, which are interfering with subway construction, or use them to ease the Beijing housing crisis. Read more about it and see plenty of pictures at Environmental Graffiti. Link

(Image credit: Flickr user V Manninen)

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