For many people, going underground represents one of their worst fears come to life. Heading down into a dark, cold, dank environment with no clue about where the exit is and how to get there is for many people the stuff of nightmares. But for others, an underground tunnel represents endless opportunities to explore and discover new places.
This list of tunnels is perfect for the seasoned explorer who wants a different experience than just regular day-to-day sightseeing. The next time you’re visiting one of these cities, check out their legendary tunnels and get ready to be inspired.
1. The Catacombs of Paris
The Catacombs of Paris were created as a way of solving two major problems that the city of Paris was dealing with in the mid 1700s. They were experiencing a series of cave-ins at local cemeteries because of the vast weight of all the graves, and they were also experiencing major overcrowding, with no new space available for burial anywhere within the city limits. To deal with this, city officials moved older bones into underground ossuaries, and hired museum director Louis-Etienne Hericart de Thury to sculpt the bones into a mausoleum magnificent enough for visitors. Now, tourists still visit the catacombs to see the macabre designs, executed entirely in human bone.
2. Smuggling tunnels in Tijuana, Mexico
The well-known Sinaloa drug cartel based in Mexico decided long ago that the best way to ship their products into the United States while avoiding border guards was to build a tunnel. One tunnel was recently discovered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and as soon as they opened the tunnel, they spotted numerous bales of marijuana — about five tonnes in total. This isn’t the first tunnel that has been raided. 13 tunnels in total have been found stretching from Mexico into California. Some are so sophisticated that they have both elevators and air conditioners.
3. DMZ Tunnels
Many people in South Korea live in fear of the day that the tunnels underneath the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea are extended all the way to the capital city of Seoul. While many insist that North Korean infrastructure won’t stretch that far, others disagree. The largest four tunnels were found between 1974 and 1980, and since they run straight towards South Korea, they are believed to have been created for the purpose of aiding an invasion. The tunnels were captured by the South Korean army, and are now open for tourists.