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Traveling through the underground of Ukraine: the most interesting locations

Albina PanchenkoNews
Traveling through the underground of Ukraine: the most interesting locations

Once upon a time, those in power built catacombs to protect themselves in case of unexpected attacks or other threats. It's not surprising that there are many underground labyrinths in our country. All of them are unique and have interesting origin stories. Read below to find out where they are located.

Kharkiv

The underground city in the former capital of Ukraine has a long history. It used to be home to underground printing houses. During Soviet times, revolutionaries organized secret meetings here. And during the Second World War, partisans often hid in these corridors. However, until a certain point, information was classified so heavily that most Kharkiv residents didn't even know about these tunnels.

Exploration of the dungeons began in the early twentieth century. However, there is still not much information available. First, the First World War impeded it, then the Civil War, and then there were insufficient funds. Eventually, the NKVD imposed strict secrecy classification. Therefore, today, Kharkiv's labyrinths are considered the most mysterious.

They have 4 "levels". The oldest of them dates back to the pre-Christian era, where remains of pagan burials were found. The younger ones were dug between the XII and XIII centuries. The third stage was built during the reign of Peter the Great to protect the population from the Swedes. It is believed that the new paths were used to evacuate the locals. During the Soviet occupation, the last passage was equipped, but information about it was hidden for a long time.

Not much is known about the Kharkiv catacombs. But there are places that have been thoroughly explored. So, before the full-scale invasion, excursions were often organized here. Of course, such walks are not available now. But after the victory, Ukrainians will definitely have the opportunity to find out what lies beneath Kharkiv.

Traveling through the underground of Ukraine: the most interesting locations

Odessa

The underground passages of Odessa have been known for a long time, but the exact time of their appearance has not yet been determined. Some researchers believe that the first tunnels began to be built in the early seventeenth century. However, they began to take the form of labyrinths about 200 years later, during the period of large-scale construction of the city, when limestone was massively mined in the vicinity for building houses.

The catacombs of Odessa are the largest tunnel system in the world, stretching for 2.5 thousand kilometers. Interestingly, there is still no complete map. Currently, about 1,000 entrances are known, but no one knows the total number. That is why it is impossible to build a subway here, although the metropolis could really benefit from one.

Similar to Kharkiv, the local underground passages served various purposes. They were once used by smugglers to evade law enforcement. During the Second World War, partisans took refuge here. For thirteen months in a row, they hid from the Nazis and launched attacks. Underground meetings were also held here, and printing houses operated within. It is rumored that a women's prison and anti-nuclear bunkers were also located underground. You can learn about all of this during a tour.

Guided tours are currently available. Experienced tourists advise against wearing white sneakers and recommend wearing an autumn or spring jacket as the temperature inside the "caves" remains a constant 14 degrees Celsius.

If you plan to visit Odessa, please note that the city is currently under fire, so it is not safe to travel there at the moment. It's better to postpone your trip for a while.

Traveling through the underground of Ukraine: the most interesting locations

Lviv

The Lviv underground is not a continuous labyrinth but rather a series of separate, unconnected passages. Some of them have been converted into museums, restaurants, or cafes, while others remain special and require permits for access. Additionally, there are some passages that have not been explored yet, with their entrances closed off.

Where should you visit? Be sure to explore the passages beneath the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, where an exhibition hall has been established. Here, you can see the foundations of 16th-century buildings, the archbishop's sarcophagus, and models depicting Gothic Lviv.

Furthermore, there are dungeons beneath Museum Square, within the territory of the Dominican Church, and underneath the slopes of the High Castle. The latter served as a bomb shelter during World War II. It's challenging to count the number of underground establishments in the city.

Traveling through the underground of Ukraine: the most interesting locations

Ukraine hides many more secrets. Perhaps a lifetime is not enough to discover them.

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