Nowadays, we are living in a world where people race to build some structures which are seemingly going to touch the sky’s farthest lining. Around the world, there are many cities in which skylines are bedecked by numerous skyscrapers, which multiply every day or are also replaced by even taller or larger buildings.
But, societies from ancient times also proved their ability to building great structures and establishing cities that are hidden right beneath the crust of the Earth. Such underground cities have been constructed throughout history, and their main uses were as shelters at war periods, for protection from dangers that nature posed, or even as some sacred locations for the religion and faith of a particular civilization. They are the subject of various legends and myths as well.
Many of those underground mysterious cities are still to be discovered in today’s modern times; however, there are several of them whose location and existence are well-known to people nowadays, although their real purpose and history are not solved yet.
1. Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland.
This particular table salt mine is located in the town called Wieliczka, southern Poland, and it is popularly called the Underground Salt Cathedral as of the massive subterranean location, together with its enormous size, occupying about 287 kilometers of the land of the town.
This place was opened for the first time during the 13th century, and it produced table salt somewhere until 1996, and its operations entirely ended in 2007. This makes it one of the oldest salt mines which remained operational until this century. According to experts, the use and exploration of the deposits of salt date from earlier – about 6,000 years ago, or even more, as researchers found ancient cemeteries from the Neolithic Period in the area.
Nowadays, this place is a national historical monument for the country, not just because of the 700 years of salt production, but for the intricate rock salt carving and complex tunnels inside of the facility.
2. Lalibela in Ethiopia.
This is a holy town located in Ethiopia’s heart, and it is the home of the largest monolithic churches in the world. Eleven of the rock-hewn, marvelous Christian churches are located in this village, and that’s why it isn’t a surprise that Lalibela is said to be a sacred place. Annually, the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia welcomes over 100,000 pilgrims. The churches in the village are interconnected. One of the most beautiful and iconic structures in the village is Saint George’s church. It has the shape of a cross, and it is the construction that is believed to be made by Saint George himself.
This village is mysterious, but some kind of beautiful underground village, often for a few compelling reasons. People are usually fascinated by how those churches have been built or what is the reason for their construction. According to legends, all of the churches built in Lalibela were completed for 24 years long period. According to archaeologists or other experts, this isn’t true, but they believe that some of them were built a few centuries before the others, and vice versa.
3. Naours in France.
This is an underground city located in France. Its humble beginnings date from the 2nd century, when the Roman Empire dominated. In those times, the site has been nothing special than only a limestone quarry; however, for the following several centuries, it was transformed into a storage facility found underground, and place for hiding in times of invasions and wars at the time of the Middle Ages.
The city has a large network of hidden passages and tunnels and contains over 300 rooms which could actually house more than 3,000 inhabitants.
However, when the stability and peace came to Europe, this underground city was not serving any purpose, so the locals later forgot it and abandoned it. However, one man that renovated his home two centuries ago rediscovered this city, so that it was used during the two world wars. Nowadays, the city is a famous tourist attraction because of its tunnels.
4. Derinkuyu in Turkey.
This is another ancient city that is concealed underneath a Derinkuyu district located in the Nevsehir Province of Turkey. This city is said to be the largest complex under the ground in Turkey, and it extends about 200 feet under the surface of Earth.
In fact, experts cannot totally agree about who constructed it, and when it was constructed. It belongs to the hidden structures discovered in the Cappadocia region, and most experts believe that the Indo-European natives discovered it, somewhere around the 8th or the 7th century BCE. This city has 18 levels, although just several of those levels are now accessible nowadays because researchers rediscovered it in the 60s years of this century. It has been a functional metropolis, capable of sustaining and accommodating more than 20,000 inhabitants.
5. Petra in Jordan.
This is an ancient caravan city located in Jordan, For a few centuries, it was said to be lost to the Western civilization unless an explorer from Swiss, called Johann Ludwig Burckhardt rediscovered it, about two centuries ago.
This site is called Petra – “rock” in the Greek language – as it is directly carved into sandstone rock. According to archaeological experts, some ancient civilization occupied this ancient city about 9,000 or more years ago.
Rome possessed the city sometime after declines of the international trade and earthquakes in the place, which led to the abandonment of the city in the 7th century A.D.
Treasury or also called the Al Khazneh is the most iconic structure, and it is a temple that is carved out of 130-feet sandstone rock face. Petra is also believed to be the place where Moses hit a rock using his staff, in that way bringing water to Israelites after they left the country of Egypt.
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