We also find underground cities in world history, as you have seen in a series of television series. Today, those hidden cities have been abandoned, but their ruins remain.

#1 Petra (Jordan)

Ruins of historic Petra (mymodernmet.com)

The Croatians, who migrated to northern Arabia around the 4th century and built settlements around it, are known as the Nabataeans. At that time they built a city called Rakmu, south of Jordan. Today, the city is known as Petra. It is world-famous for its rock-cut architecture and moat system and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Pink City.

Considered one of Jordan’s most popular tourist attractions, the city is believed to have been built by the Nabataeans around 312 BC. The Nabataeans were best known for their ability to create moat systems for the most successful collection of water in the desert, and for their ability to polish and carve rocks. 

So all those features can be seen clearly in this underground city. The most beautiful building in the city is the Al Qasna building. It is believed to be the tomb of a dead king or queen.

Abandoned in the 8th century, the city was discovered in the 19th century by the Swiss explorer Johann Berkhard. Since then, excavations in the city have begun, but it is not yet complete. The city of Petra was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 due to its historical significance. The city of Petra, Jordan, was among the seven New World Wonders announced in 2007.

#2 Weliska salt mine (Poland)

Beauty inside the Weliska salt mine (polandactive.com)

This salt mine, which dates back to the 13th century, is located near the city of Krakow in Poland. Shortly after the mine was started, an underground city was created inside the mine. It received royal patronage. Hence the name “Weliska Royal Salt Mine”. In the underground city built of salt, there is a cathedral carved with salt, three other churches, a system of tunnels, a series of rooms, and statues made of salt.

The mine was used for commercial salt mining from the 13th century until 1996. Commercial salt mining has been suspended since 1996 due to falling salt prices and flooding of the mine. But the mine remained active until 2007. Today, this amazing salt mine is a historical monument to Poland. The technology used to extract salt in the distant past can be seen here.

#3 Beijing Underground City (China)

Beijing underground city (gettyimages)

By the 1960s, several of the world’s most powerful nations were conducting nuclear tests. So the fear of nuclear war spread around the world. The Chinese government was already prepared to face such a situation. The Chinese government speculated that their capital, Beijing, would be most affected. So they built a big city called Dixia Chen beneath Beijing. The city was built to accommodate a population of about one million.

The city had a large tunnel system. Some roads were large enough to accommodate large tanks. There were also many facilities including schools, hospitals, granaries, restaurants, and sports halls. In addition, a cinema hall that could seat 1000 people at a time was built there.

There was no need to use the underground city built under Beijing because the nuclear war did not happen as expected. As a result, Beijing’s underground city is being gradually destroyed and buried underground.

#4 Lalibela (Ethiopia)

Inside the city of Lalibela (Escape)

Due to the Muslim occupation of Jerusalem in 1187, Christians were not allowed to visit the Holy Land. So King Lalibela built an underground city called “Lalibela” near the Jordan River in Ethiopia, similar to Jerusalem. It is located at an altitude of about 2600 m in the Lusta Mountains. It is said that the city of Lalibela took about 24 years to complete. The city is thought to have been completed in the 13th century.

Several churches can be seen in the city, which is about 100 feet deep. Volcanic rocks have been used to build these beautiful churches. The city also has an underground road network and hidden caves. The clergy and laity of that time continued to live in underground churches. At that time, a considerable number of devotees came to the churches daily for religious activities. So it is speculated that the city of Lalibela may have been full of devotees at that time.

The stone churches in the town of Lalibela, which had long been revered by worshipers, were later deserted. But realizing the historical significance of the city of Lalibela, the Ethiopian government took steps to preserve it. So today Lalibela has become a tourist city. The city of Lalibela was also named one of the 12 World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1978.

#5 Derinkuyu (Turkey)

A view of the city of Derinkuyu (Viator)

History of the underground village of Derinkuyu in the Nevsehr district of Turkey. BC Dating back to the 8th century. The Prussians created such an underground village to live in safety during times of war and aggression. In that village houses, school rooms, bathrooms, a wine factory, wells, etc. were built. They also built a church hereafter the Christians took over the village during the Byzantine period. Moreover, they expanded the city to accommodate quite a few people.

The village is made up of several floors. Archaeologists believe that there are at least three floors that have not yet been excavated. Stone gates were built into each of these floors. These stone gates are unique in that they are designed to be overturned by enemies.

Also, for safety, each floor of the village was sealed separately. This wonderful underground village, which had been in use for a long time, was later abandoned. It is not yet known when the last people lived in this village.

The long-abandoned village was discovered by chance in 1963. The village was discovered by chance while a local was repairing his house. It was only then that excavations in the village began. But excavations are still only a small part of it.

Archaeologists believe that the village, which consisted of 18 small floors, was designed to accommodate up to 20,000 people. Opened to the public in 1969, this underground village has become one of the most popular tourist destinations today.


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