10 underground cities you didn't know existed

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These huge underground networks may not see the light of day but they've been pulling visitors into their subterranean bowels for centuries.

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  • Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
    © Peter Ksinan/123RF
    Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland

    One of the most visited tourist attractions in Polat, the Wielicska Salt Mine first opened in the 13th century, making it one of the world's oldest. Once down in the mine, you'll find dozens of statues, as well as four chapels all made entirely out of salt by the miners.

  • Coober Pedy, Australia
    ©South Australia/Facebook
    Coober Pedy, Australia

    Coober Pedy, a town situated in South of Australia, is best known as the Opal Capital of the World. But what's even more impressive about it is that the local population of 1,500 move their life underground to escape the daily heat. The town's old mines have been refurbished and now feature everything locals need during the day, like shops, kitchens, bookstores and even two churches, one of which a Serbian Orthodox Church.

  • Edinburgh Vaults, Scotland
    ©Haunted Scotland/Facebook
    Edinburgh Vaults, Scotland

    The Edinburgh Vaults - or South Bridge Vaults - are a series of chambers that were used as storage space for illicit material in the 1700s, including - according to local lore - the bodies of the victims of serial killers Burke and Hare, who used them for medical experiments. Many people and paranormal investigators claim that they have encountered ghostly beings in the tunnels, most notably the ghost of a man with no face who gives off an evil presence.

  • Dixia Cheng, China
    ©Alex Kovacs/Facebook
    Dixia Cheng, China

    This huge underground shelter, known as the Underground City, was built in Beijing for fear of a Soviet nuclear attack. The shelter was made up of a sprawling network of tunnels and facilities such as movie theaters, schools, shops and warehouses. Between 2000 and 2008, it opened to foreign tourists only after years of dissuse. Since then the site has been closed for renovations.

  • Derinkuyu, Turkey
    © liskam/123RF
    Derinkuyu, Turkey

    The region of Cappadocia in Turkey alone is home to more than 200 underground cities. The city of Derinkuyu, first built in 7th century BC, is the largest of them all. With its 13 levels and depth of 85 meters, it has the capacity to shelter at least 20,000 people.

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When faced with nature, war and uncapped urbanisation, people all over the world have created inhabitable masterpieces in order to survive. Some of these secret labyrinths have been renovated, whilst others have been long forgotten, but all of these subterranean towns have nevertheless retained their mystery. From America to Iran, here are 10 incredible underground cities you didn't know existed.

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Alexandra Dimitrova
Posted on 22/08/2016 1462 shares
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