When it comes to underground cities, we most often recall works in the genre of science fiction or cave abodes of primitive people. At worst, there are underground government bunkers, whose task is to hide the country's government and its playing military from the dosimetrically measurable consequences of their own games.
But in reality, it doesn't stop there. For you, we have collected stories from several such cities.
Coober Pedy, Australia
This settlement was founded by people engaged in the extraction of opals in the underground caves of South Australia. There is a lousy climate, a lot of wild animals seeking to eat the meat of the immigrant, so the miners had to somehow get out of the situation.
They decided to use the depleted mines to house their own dwellings. Now the residential buildings there are adjacent to the actively developed galleries. In the underground town there are trade and catering establishments, two churches - Catholic and Methodist, as well as its own cemetery at a depth of 17 meters underground. There is practically no flora here, so the hill above Coober Pedy is decorated with wood welded from rebar and old pipes.
According to its inhabitants, the town is very nice, convenient and comfortable for life. Many houses are still not equipped with air conditioning systems, since the soil that does not warm up at such a depth serves as an excellent thermostat. On the surface, the inhabitants of the opal paradise get out at night to walk and play football or golf on a well-lit field (9 holes, by the way!).
The town is open to tourists, here you can rent a hole for a couple of nights - or a longer period, if you suddenly like such a life.
This city is located in the mines left over from lime mining, stopped in the early 60s. After the mine closed, grapes began to be grown in its place, and the galleries were adapted for cellars for finished products - wine. The total area of underground galleries is 240 kilometers; the length of the streets reaches 80.
In 2005, the town was on the page of the Guinness Book of Records for its largest cellars in the world. They move along local underground highways not only on foot, but also by car or bicycle: the same traffic rules apply here as on the surface, there are all the necessary control elements.
Burlington, United Kingdom
The Burlington complex is exactly what we talked about at the very beginning, the atavism of the Cold War. It was built in the 50s for the royal government and the most important officials in case the USSR used nuclear weapons against the United Kingdom.
Now in the underground town with an area of one hundred square kilometers there are hospitals, a railway station, a BBC studio (in case the prime minister and the queen need to address the people), as well as the headquarters of the Air Force and the Armed Forces. In case the prime minister wants to wet his throat, a pub with a supply of beer for several weeks is immediately open. And in total, the shelter could feed and support 4 thousand people for three months: it was believed that this would be enough for the radiation on the surface to decrease to tolerable levels.
It functioned until 1991, and in 2004 it was declassified and has been for sale ever since: the Ministry of Defense no longer needs the facility, but here's the bad luck; no one else is expressing interest in it either.
In the late 60s, Chinese Prime Minister Mao Zedong decided to create several thousand bomb shelters near Beijing, capable of accommodating most of the capital's population in case of bombing. Already at that time, along with housing, warehouses, shops, schools and kindergartens were built there, as well as entertainment infrastructure - a theater and a rollerdrome for teenagers. According to legend, every house in the central part of Beijing has a hatch in the basement, which allows you to very quickly descend into your bunker.
Strategic importance was lost in the late 80s, after which it was abandoned (but there is still security, and some of the bunkers are very densely populated, despite the ban introduced in 2010 and the order to clean the dungeons from private trash). Police estimate that up to a million Chinese live in these bunkers, mostly migrants from agricultural areas of Central and Northeast China.
Located in the Montreal dungeons, the La Ville shopping center is considered one of the most popular attractions in the capital of Quebec. It was completed in 1962 and is designed to help the inhabitants of the city more easily tolerate the harsh climate, combining terribly cold winters and humid, almost tropical summers.
It has everything you need for life – from banks, shops and offices to an art gallery and a university campus. There is also its own metro line, and the total number of entrances and exits reaches 120: almost every store or business center seeks to acquire its own - this is a matter not only of prestige, but also of convenience. Many office workers here not only work, but also live: so they save time on trips among the city traffic jams.
This is perhaps the only case in our collection where the authorities are seriously thinking about investing in the expansion of the underground city.