10 Astounding Underground Cities Around the World

by Unbelievable Facts5 years ago

6 Downtown Seattle is a rebuilt city. The original city from the 1800s sits 20 feet underground below high-walled tunnels which were abandoned after a huge fire and to prevent floods from high tide and sewage. The remnants of the old city can be visited today.

Seattle Underground city
Image Credits: Mark Hursh via wikipedia, Admrboltz via wikimedia

On a doomed afternoon on June 6, 1889, a cabinetmaker accidentally overturned a pot of ignited glue that was grease-based. It spread far and wide after attempts to extinguish it with water did not help, and also because the houses in Seattle were made with wood then. The fire chief was out of town when this happened, and the other firemen used a lot of hoses to extinguish the fire which drastically reduced the water pressure ultimately leading to the destruction of 31 blocks of houses. This was the “Great Seattle Fire” after which the authorities decided to build a new city two stories above the semi-destroyed city which is now underground and known as “Seattle Underground.”

The streets were lined with concrete walls. and naturally steep hillsides were used to build the above-ground city. People initially used ladders to go up and down until the homes and business were gradually moved above ground, the new ground floor. In 1907, due to the fear of bubonic plague, the underground city was abandoned. A small portion of this underground city is open for people to visit as only that part was restored. (source)

7 In the 1950s, an entire underground city was built by England to house thousands of important government employees in case of a nuclear strike. It has an underground lake, a railway line, studios, a tube system, etc. and was kept a secret until 2004.

Burlington Bunker
Image Credits: NJ via wikimedia, atlasobscura

Under Corsham, Wiltshire in England lies an underground city also known as the “Burlington Bunker.” Not simply a bunker, this 35-acre city has kitchens, cafeterias, a hospital, a phone exchange, laundries, storerooms. and an entire lake underground. And if that wasn’t enough, it featured 60 miles of roads, its very own tube system to relay messages quickly, and a secret railway line for the use of the English royalty.

It was designed for the occupation of 4,000 central government employees of the country in case of a nuclear attack, who could last there for three months with all the facilities for survival. It is rumored to have a pub named “Rose and Crown” modeled upon the famous Whitehall tavern, “Red Lion.” The city has many murals painted by artist Olga Lehmann and is climate-controlled. It was decommissioned in 2004, and the secret about its existence was revealed to the world. It was also put up for sale then. (source)


8 In the early 1970s, an underground city to house Beijing’s six million inhabitants was built with facilities such as restaurants, schools, farms, warehouses, and an ice skating rink. People who were allowed to visit parts of the city describe it to be, “dark, damp, and genuinely eerie.”

Beijing's underground city
Image Credits: atlasobscura

Referred to as “The Underground City,” the city in Beijing is a Cold War-era bomb shelter that was constructed by 300,000 local residents from 1969 to 1979 to provide a shelter for the Chinese in case of a nuclear or any other attack by the Soviet Union. The city covers an area of 85 square kilometers and had about 90 entrances to it from shops, homes, and other areas. A roller skating rink, clinics, theatres, factories, schools, restaurants, warehouses, and even a mushroom cultivation farm was built there. Potential sites where wells could be dug were also identified. It had the capacity to house six million inhabitants who could be protected from poisonous gases in case of a biochemical attack through the 2,300 ventilation shafts which could be sealed off.

Some of these structures in the underground city have been turned into cheap hotels, theaters, and shopping centers. Many residents use it to beat the extreme temperatures as it remains warm in winters and cool in summers. The city has never been used for its official purpose, but it has not yet been abandoned. (source)

9 “Ramenki-43” is an underground city in Moscow that was built in the mid-1980s to give refuge to 15,000 people for 30 years. It is built to the depth of 590 feet.

Image Credits: Anakin via nashtransport

An article in Time first mentioned the existence of this city in Ramenki, southwest of Moscow near the main building of the Moscow State University. A journalist named “KGB officer” wrote the article and stated that he took part in the construction of this facility that was meant to serve as a shelter for 15,000 people in case Moscow was threatened with a nuclear war. It had facilities and supplies that were enough to sustain 15,000 people for three whole decades.

It is the largest underground bunker in Moscow which connects with many other underground facilities. It is named “Ramenki-43” because that is the address of one of its supposed entrances which is co-incidentally the address of the Militarized Rescue Squad 21 and the 1st Paramilitary Rescue Squad. (source)


10 Coober Pedy is a largely underground town in Australia where half of its population lives below the ground to escape the unbearable temperatures. The entire population of another town named White Cliffs lives underground in abandoned mineshafts.

When one visits Coober Pedy in the Australian Outback, what can be seen above ground are a few hotels and a lone golf course because out of the 3,500 people who live there, 60% live underground. The people who live underground have their homes burrowed out of caves because the temperatures overground exceeds 40°C in the summer. Most of the people have migrated to Coober Pedy because of its richness in opal. About 95% of the world’s opal is mined there.

In another town named White Cliffs in the Outback, the whole of the population lives underground to beat the extreme temperatures which can go as high as 48.6°C. The people there have dug out their own homes out of old mineshafts that are no longer in use. White Cliffs is also famous for opal mining. As of 2011, the town had a really small population of 103. (1, 2)

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