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Underground Cities



John is an AECOM Fellow specialised in geotechnical engineering for more than 40 years and has been practising in the Asia Pacific region. John has continued to work on underground railway projects and contributed to the design of more than 100 underground station structures.




Underground Cities


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The underground complex spans over 300,000 square meters and is home to a wide range of facilities, including shopping centers, restaurants, hockey rink and even a swimming pool. It is also connected to the Helsinki Metro, which makes it an important transportation hub for the city.


One of the most interesting features of the Helsinki underground city is its use of modern technology to improve energy efficiency and sustainability. It uses a geothermal heating system, which reduces its energy consumption and helps to lower carbon emissions.


The Naples underground city, also known as Napoli Sotterranea, is an intricate network of tunnels and passageways that covers more than 80 kilometers beneath the streets of Naples, Italy. This underground complex spans over 2400 years of history and is considered one of the most important underground archaeological sites in the world.


Visitors to Napoli Sotterranea can explore its vast network of tunnels and chambers, which includes everything from ancient Greek quarries to World War II bomb shelters. The underground city also features a number of archaeological artifacts, including ancient statues, mosaics, and frescoes.


One of the most unique features of the Naples Underground City is the Catacombs of San Gennaro, which are a series of underground tombs that date back to the early Christian period. The catacombs contain thousands of burial chambers and are considered one of the most important early Christian burial sites in the world.


Derinkuyu is a fascinating historical site located in Cappadocia, Turkey. It is one of the largest and deepest underground cities in the region and was built in the 8th century BC by the Hittites and developed further by the Phrygians. The city was later expanded by the Byzantines and the Christians in the 7th and 8th centuries AD.


According to BBC, the ancient city Derinkuyu consists of a complex network of tunnels and rooms that are spread over 18 levels, reaching a depth of up to 85 meters. The city was designed to provide shelter and protection to the local inhabitants during times of war and persecution. One of the most impressive features of the Derinkuyu is its ability to support a large population for an extended period of time. The city was also used as a storage area for food and supplies during long periods of siege. The city is equipped with a sophisticated water supply system that includes underground channels and wells, as well as a network of stone doors that could be closed to seal off different sections of the city.


Visitors can explore the underground tunnels and chambers, marveling at the engineering and architecture of the ancient city. The city features a number of fascinating architectural and engineering wonders, including underground wells, ventilation shafts, and even a church with a large cross carved into the stone ceiling.


The tunnels are narrow and winding, and visitors are advised to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for tight spaces. The underground city can be explored independently or as part of a guided tour.


Visitors to Derinkuyu can see the various features of the underground city, including the living spaces, storage rooms, and religious spaces. The city also has a ventilation system that is still operational, providing fresh air to the underground chambers.


Guanajuato (a UNESCO heritage), also known as Los Túneles de Guanajuato, is a labyrinthine network of tunnels and subterranean passageways that run beneath the streets of the city of Guanajuato in central Mexico. This unique underground complex was originally constructed in the 16th century as a means of providing a more efficient system for transporting silver and other valuable minerals from the mines to the smelting factories.


Visitors to the Guanajuato can explore the tunnels on a guided tour, which typically lasts around 90 minutes. The tour takes visitors through a series of tunnels and chambers, including the underground museum of the Diego Rivera House, which features a collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts and displays on the life and work of the famous Mexican artist.


The complex was originally constructed in the 1960s as a way to alleviate traffic congestion and provide additional retail space for the growing population of Tokyo. Today, it serves as one of the largest underground shopping malls in the world, with over 200 shops and restaurants spread out over several levels.


Despite its size and popularity, the subterranean city can be difficult to navigate for first-time visitors. The network of tunnels and passageways is extensive, and it can be easy to get lost in the maze-like structure. However, there are plenty of signs and maps available to help guide visitors, and the underground city is well-lit and well-maintained.


Coober Pedy is a small town located in the heart of the Australian outback, in the state of South Australia. The town is famous for its opal mines, which are some of the largest in the world, and its unique underground homes and buildings.


Due to the extreme heat of the Australian desert, many of the residents of Coober Pedy have chosen to live underground in order to escape the scorching temperatures. The underground homes are carved into the soft sandstone rock that surrounds the town, and feature living areas, bedrooms, and even kitchens and bathrooms.


In addition to homes, the underground city of Coober Pedy also includes churches, hotels, and other buildings. One of the most famous underground attractions in the town is the Coober Pedy Opal Mine and Museum, which showcases the history and culture of opal mining in the region.


The idea of living underground in Coober Pedy began in the early 20th century, when opal miners began to dig underground tunnels and caves in search of precious opals. Over time, these tunnels were expanded and developed into homes and other buildings, creating the unique underground city that exists today.


Despite the challenges of living underground, many residents of Coober Pedy have found that it offers numerous benefits. In addition to staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter, living underground also provides protection from the strong winds and dust storms that are common in the desert.


The Odessa Catacombs are a sprawling network of underground tunnels and passageways located beneath the city of Odessa in Ukraine. The catacombs were created over the course of several centuries, and have served a variety of purposes throughout their history.


One of the earliest uses of the catacombs was as a quarry for the limestone used to build the city of Odessa. Over time, however, the tunnels and passageways expanded and grew, creating a vast network of underground spaces.


Nowadays, the Odessa Catacombs remain a popular destination for tourists and adventurers. Many of the tunnels and passageways are open to the public, allowing visitors to explore the maze-like underground world beneath the city.


Despite the dangers, the Odessa Catacombs continue to draw visitors from around the world. The underground city is a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the people of Odessa, and a reminder of the many uses that the earth beneath our feet can serve.


Over time, the underground network expanded to include a variety of other functions, including a Chinese laundry, livestock and coal transportation, and even a movie theater. During World War II, the tunnels were used as a secret storage facility for the Royal Canadian Air Force, and later as a training site for the Cold War-era Strategic Air Command.


Picture an anthill. What do you see? A small mound of sand and crumbly dirt poking up through the lawn? A tiny hole disappearing into the ground? A few ants scrambling around busily. Not very impressive, right? googletag.cmd.push(function() googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1449240174198-2'); ); But slip beneath the surface and the above-ground simplicity gives way to subterranean complexity. Tunnels dive downward, branching and leading to specialized chambers that serve as home for the colony's queen, as nurseries for its young, as farms for fungus cultivated for food, and as dumps for its trash. These are not just burrows. They are underground cities, some of them home to millions of individuals, reaching as far as 25 feet underground, often lasting for decades.


In this episode, we answer a question from 5-year-old Wyatt in Los Angeles and learn about ancient underground cities in Turkey, the subterranean passageways of Montreal and the dug-out houses of Coober Pedy, Australia. Also in this episode: Why is it so warm underground?


All of those layers of rock are heated by that magma deep in the core. The rocks get hotter the deeper you go. But the crust closet to the surface stays about 50 to 60 degrees all year round. In fact, some homes and businesses use that constant temperature to provide heating and cooling without being underground. They use technology called geo-thermal heat pumps to heat and cool buildings.


Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Russia's most high-profile mercenary group Wagner said on 7 January 2023 he wanted his forces and the regular Russian army to capture the small city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine because it possessed "underground cities" that can hold troops and tanks. [Twitter]


Archaeologists in southeastern Turkey have unearthed a vast underground city that was built almost 2,000 years ago and could have been home to up to 70,000 people. The subterranean complex may have been a protected space that early Christians used to escape Roman persecution.


Workers on the project first discovered a limestone cave, and then a passage into the rest of the hidden city, Gani Tarkan, the director of the Mardin Museum and the head of the excavations, told the Turkish government-owned Anadolu Agency (opens in new tab). That said, some of the local people had already known that there were caves below Midyat, but had not known there was an entire underground city, Tarkan told Live Science in an email. 041b061a72


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