25 April, 2011

A-Z Blogging Challenge: U Stands For: Underground Cities

There's lots of stuff underground. For one thing, if you want to go really far down, there's Earth's core which is approximately 5505 C.

And a bit closer to home there are underground cities, which is what this post is to focus on.

Some notables:

The largest underground city in the world is Montreal's RÉSO, or La Ville Souterraine. It has 30 kilometers (19 miles) of tunnel, spread across 12 square kilometers (4.6 square miles). The 3.6 square kilometers (1.4 square miles) of floor space provide 80% of Montreal's office space, 35% of its commercial space, and during the winter around 500,000 thousand people use the city. There are 10 metro stations, 1,200 offices, 2,000 stores, 1,600 housing units, 200 restaurants, 2 universities, 40 banks, 7 hotels, a cathedral, exhibition halls, and a sports complex.

The catacombs of Rome are under and close to the city. There are at least 40 catacombs discovered. They began in the 100s and, due to overcrowding and shortage of land, systems were built on top of each other by the excavators; the catacombs cover 2.4 square kilometers. There are also 6 known Jewish catacombs, discovered in 1918, which extend for 13,000 square meters (140,000 square feet) and are from around 100-200 AD, possibly still used in the 400s.

Derinkuyu is the largest excavated underground city in Turkey. It is part of a network of underground complexes found across Cappadocia, which is what the area including the provinces of Aksaray, Nevsehir, Nigde, Kayseri and Kirsehir, is called, in the Central Anatolian region. Derinkuyu has 11 floors, goes to a depth of 85 meters, and could hold between 35,000 and 50,000 people. There were wine and oil presses, cellars, stables, chapels, and, unique to Derinkuyu, a religious school set in a chamber with a barrel-vaulted ceiling.

Dìxià Chéng is a bomb shelter under Beijing, China. It was built in the 1970s in case there was a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, and because it was for military defense, it has been called the Underground Great Wall. It covers 85 square kilometers (33 square miles), and is 8-18 meters (26-59 feet) below the surface. There were 90 hidden entrances to the tunnels, but now there is only one at Chongwen Qu. The complex had restaurants, schools, factories, warehouses, theaters, clinics, a skating rink, a mushroom farm for growing foods that don't require much light, and over 70 sites for potential water wells. There was protection from chemical attack, radioactive fallout, and even flood.




Have you ever visited an underground city? If so, which one? If not, do you want to?

I hope you all had a happy Easter!

-----The Golden Eagle


Robyn Campbell said...

Easter was great here. My fav holiday. It is all about Him. :-)

Eagle, this post is great. I have never visited an underground city, but would love to. I've ALWAYS wanted to visit the catacombs of Rome. I know some people who are in China right now. I'll be interested in hearing if they visited Dìxià Chéng. Or can you? :-)

Reece said...

The closest I've come was to visit the catacombs beneath the Cathedral of Lima, in Peru (they're not nearly big enough to count as a city...and no one ever lived there). I would love to visit any of the places you mentioned here. There's also the tunnels in the Dover cliffs.

Fun post!

Carole Anne Carr said...

A fascinating post, and Happy Easter.

Ann said...

I have been through catacombs in Rome. The others you highlight I have not been fortunate enough to explore.

Mary Mary said...

Fascinating! Especially the one in Montreal. A while back I read an article in "Wired" magazine about futuristic bomb shelters some countries want to build. They seem incredibly complex and provide just about everything a person would need to survive fifty years of fallout.

Madeleine said...

I love the idea of underground cities. Very atmospheric! Not visited any though. I beleive Neverwhere by N Gaiman is about the underground as a city. :O)

L. said...

The History Channel had a whole series on underground structures, both ancient and modern. Link!

I may have watched all of them on account of being a huge nerd.

the writing pad said...

Wow - I live and learn all the time on this blog - I didn't know any of these existed (at least, not as extensively as you've described them.) Not sure I'd like being underground, although it might stop me obsessing about the weather :-)
Thanks for brill facts and an interesting subject.

Old Kitty said...

I have been to Churchill's bunker and his underground network built during WW2! And does wandering in the labyrinthe of the London Underground Tube system count?!?!

Yay for these amazing underground cities.!!! All of them on my "to be visited before I turn 50, darn it!" list!! Thank you! take care

Emily Rose said...

I don't know if I could ever live underground, but I would love to visit the Catacombs in Rome.
Hope you had a wonderful Easter too!

laughingwolf said...

nope, but have used subway systems in europe and north america...

old tv show [before you were born] had 'vincent' living in an underground city: http://www.comicmix.com/news/2008/10/12/review-beauty-and-the-beast-the-complete-series/

if you can catch reruns, you may like em....

Lauracea said...

I've been to Toronto and seen the underground system there. It's vast. Scares me a bit, being away from the sun and air but, bearing in mind their climate, I suppose they have to have it. I'd love to visit the catacombs of Rome.

Jules said...

Been to underground Atlanta and a bunch of caves. I love that show about underground cities, can't remember which channel. Sorry I'm old :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Clarissa Draper said...

This may sound ungrateful, but I think I would rather die than go live in an underground anything. I'm so scared of closed spaces that just the thought of going on a cruise-ship this fall gives me the shivers. But, what an innovation for the people.

li said...

I was addicted to the TV series Cities Underground (something like that), there are so many bunkers and ruins and things that we don't even realize are under our feet. About all I've done is explored a bunch of caves (which was very cool!)

Rusty Webb said...

No, never visited an underground city. Aside from the catacombs beneath Rome, I was unaware they existed. Well, did the whole Cheyenne Mountain thing count? I know about that one.

Have done Tuckaleechee caverns and the lost sea though. That has to count for something.

mshatch said...

I'd love to visit an underground city, including all those you mentioned. Interesting post!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The first one is amazing!

N. R. Williams said...

Fascinating. I have never been to an under ground city, I have been inside caves. I didn't know Montreal had its modern version.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

Heather said...

Underground cities have always fascinated me. I haven't visited one yet but I plan to!

Sarah said...

Love this! The Seattle Underground is fascinating and there's a great tour to check it out. They built the new city right on top of the old one, so you can look up through the grates and see people walking overhead. It's also supposed to be extremely haunted.

I also checked out the catacombs in Paris, which were much deeper and pretty crazy.

Alleged Author said...

NOW there's a novel, TEAP, you should write a novel about underground caverns. It could be a horror novel with dystopian implications! I bet you could do it and totes freak us out! :P

Elliot Grace said...

...linking this post over to my son's Facebook page. He'll love this, as do I:)


anthony stemke said...

Fascinating essay, that one in Motreal is big. And your source-nice.

Thank You.

Anonymous said...

I haven't visited an underground city, but I've always wanted to. When I grew up in NYC I was fascinated with the subways, and this seems even cooler.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Golden Eagle .. very interesting .. I hadn't realised there were so many underground cities .. and I'd love to explore them ..

Fascinating pictures too .. and the other great places to visit .. very interesting ..

Cheers - enjoyed this .. thanks - Hilary

Cindy said...

Really neat! Makes me want to explore.

In high school a friend and I used to sneak into the maintenance tunnels beneath our very old school (built in 1871) and just wander around. We found evidence of people using the tunnels for drug use though, which is kind of sad in a small city high school.

The Golden Eagle said...

Robyn: Glad you had a good Easter. :)

Thank you!

No, I'm afraid I can't--I haven't been to China since I was adopted (although I'd just love to go back!).

Reece: Still, it sounds like an intriguing place!

I've heard of the Dover Cliffs; I think I watched a travel show that mentioned them once.


Carole: Thank you!

Ann: Wow. What was it like?

I haven't been to any of the places I mentioned, either--although I have been to one underground city in the USA.

Mary: Really? Well, I suppose that makes sense; it's sad, though, that anyone would have to contemplate going underground for 50 years just because people couldn't put down their arms and agree not to kill each other . . .

Madeleine: I do, too!

I hadn't known that--I really wish my library had Neverwhere! I really like his other books.

L.: Thanks for the link! I'll have to check that out.

I'm a nerd, too. ;)

Old Kitty: I was reading about Churchill's bunker as I researched this post!

LOL. I would think so!

Good luck with accomplishing the goals on your list--it sounds like you've got some fun stuff planned! :D


Emily: I'd like to go there, too; they seem like such an interesting place. Not so sure I'd want to see all the bones, though . . . :P

Thank you! I did have a good Easter. :)

Laughingwolf: I've never been on a subway--not that I can think of, anyway.

Thanks for the link! I'll have to check that out.

The Golden Eagle said...

Lauracea: PATH is in Toronto, isn't it? I read about it--it does sound like it's huge.

Jules: I've been inside caves; they're so cool to look around in and see all the rock formations.

Clarissa: You wouldn't have liked the cave tour my mom and I went on, then! The guide turned off the lights and it was pitch black . . . a bit creepy. :P

I hope you enjoy the cruise! (I happen to be a little wary of cruises for another reason--I can't swim.)

Li: I've never heard of the series, but it sounds interesting. :)

I've been to caves as well; there's something so intriguing about them.

Rusty: Don't see why it wouldn't! It is a sort of underground complex, after all.


Mshatch: I want to visit them now, too. :D


Alex: It does look impressive!

Nancy: I've been to caves and to an underground city--both were interesting.

Yup. I hadn't know it, either; I wonder what the city looks like from above, and if there's any way to tell that there's actually a lot underground . . .

Heather: I hope you get to visit one soon, then! :)

Sarah: It must be strange to see people walking overhead. LOL.

Haunted, huh? Have there been any strange happenings? :P

They seem disturbing, and that's just from the information; all those bodies, stacked against each other. *shudder*

The Golden Eagle said...

Alleged: A horror novel set underground, with dystopian implications? It sounds like fun! :D

(Seriously, it does have potential . . . darn it, now you've given me ideas. LOL.)

Elliot: I'm glad you liked it! I hope your son enjoys this post--thank you for spreading the word about it! :)

Anthony: Thank you!

You're very welcome--I love putting together these posts.

Medeia: I've never been to a subway, but I have to say even those have their allure. I suppose anything underground does!

Hilary: I hadn't know, either, until I looked up the Wikipedia article! There are underground cities all over the world.

Thank you! Glad you liked the pics.

Anytime. :)

Cindy: Me, too. Get me some walking shoes and a plane to the mentioned countries!

1871! Wow, those are old.

That is sad. I hope the situation got resolved somehow; drugs can do a lot of damage.

Deniz Bevan said...

Yay for Montreal and Turkey! When I worked at a coffee shop, tourists that came in always asked me about the "underground city" - it always sounds more magical when you call it that, rather than saying "so where's the mall that leads to the metro?"

The Golden Eagle said...

LOL. It does have more appeal. :P