Underground cities have been a theme in fiction stories and there are urban legends of people living in abandoned mines, caves, and subway tunnels – but no one really imagines these to be actual cities. However, there are thriving underground cities that exist today all over the world!
10. Beijing, China
Underneath Beijing, stretching 30 km, is an enormous city built during the Sino-Soviet border war. The underground city, that enclosed stores, restaurants, schools, theaters, barbershops, and a roller skating rink, was meant for military defense and included 1,000 air raid shelters. Today the city has been re-opened as a tourist attraction and is being used as youth hostels in some locations!
9. Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain
Home to more than 3,000 people today, the houses are built into the mountain wall. The town is more out in the open than most underground cities and has amazing carved structures that helped the town serve as a Moorish fortification.
8. Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally created to allow for warm travel for city workers in the early twentieth century due to long and cold winter weather. Soon after, during the Prohibition era, it isn’t surprising that it soon became the alley ways of mobsters and bootleggers. Nicknamed ‘The Chicago Connection,’ it is rumored that Al Capone was deeply involved in the illegal alcohol, gambling, and prostitution activities in this mini Las Vegas of its time.
7. City of the Gods, Giza Plateau
When visiting Giza you expect to see the Great Pyramids. What you might not expect is to be walking on top of a massive series of underground tunnels and chambers that might comprise a possible ‘metropolis.’ Today, known as the City of the Gods, this underground city still largely remains a mystery.
6. Portland, Oregon
In the Pacific Northwest region of the US, you might be surprised to find an underground city named the ‘Shanghai Tunnels.’ Used to transport, this underground tunnel system was once known as the worst place on the US West Coast for human trafficking. Also called the Forbidden City, other illegal activities included prostitution – and today can be toured without the past risk of forced labor.