You can explore a city all day and night, but if you don’t go underground, there’s still more than meets the eye. Every large city has underground infrastructure, for transportation, communication, utilities, etc, but some have even more. Find out what underground secrets metropolitan areas are hiding, like the gloriously-decorated water reservoir below Istanbul, the network of nuclear shelters underneath Beijing, or the mine shafts beneath Odessa.
The Odessa Catacombs started out as a system of natural caves, which were then expanded rapidly due to mining operations in the 17th and 18th centuries. Smugglers too, were known to frequent this subterranean realm so close to the Black Sea coast.
When the Nazis invaded Odessa in 1941, the Red Army retreated north towards Russia; but as many as 6,000 Soviet partisans remained, hiding out in the tunnels beneath the city. From here they would launch surprise attacks on the occupying forces, destroying factories, stores and convoys before disappearing back into the labyrinth… and many would remain down there, right up until the Soviets returned to liberate Odessa in 1944.
Beijing Underground City was open to the public for a few years, but since it’s off-limits now, you can see it only in pictures. Those you will find, along with the stories of nine other cities and their subterranean secrets, at Urban Ghosts.
(Image credit: The Bohemian Blog)