by Amy Lignor
There are millions of spots to visit and sites to see around the world when it comes to vacation time; however, there are also those you can’t necessarily “see.” In this world of digital technology and highly imaginative architecture that creates buildings that are higher and more “glitzy” than ever before, it is important to remember that in ancient times, people were building “down.” Various civilizations created locations underground, while others actually got buried by Mother Nature and simply forgotten about. Let’s begin internationally…
Heading to France, you can admire an entire village made up of caves and stone called the Barry Troglodyte Village. Overlooking the Rhône Valley, not only do you receive some of the most scenic sites imaginable, but you also get to delve into history where the Neolithic actually lived until the early 20th century. And, while in France, if visiting the stunning cityscape of Paris, you can also be a part of wandering amidst over 200 miles of catacombs resting right below “The City of Lights.”
In Scotland, you can be awed by a series of chambers that were formed in the 19 arches of South Bridge in Edinburgh. Built to link the “Old Town’s High Street” with University buildings on the city’s south side, the Edinburgh Vaults are something you and the family will never forget.
In Saskatchewan, at a place called Moose Jaw, you can visit an award winning attraction operating year-round that will give you a sneak peek at the bootlegging industry during the days of Capone.
If a wartime historian, the tunnels resting below the earth in Beijing, China, make up a network that is absolutely enormous. Called the “Underground Great Wall,” this was provided for the people in order for them to have the ability to run if the Russian Army invaded during the Cold War.
Spain offers one of the most special “underground” sites there is with Setenil de las Bodegas. Here, residents make their homes under a rock. Growing out of a network of caves, these bright white tiny houses look like they are actually emerging from the cliff face, with rock roofs as well as some with olive groves growing on their rooftops.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978, the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland is truly amazing, clocking in at more than 700 years old. Visitors are offered the tourist, miners’ or pilgrims’ route to take, as well as the “Mysteries Tour” which is one of the physically hardest – perfect for all those hikers out there. Being a location for TV shows, exhibitions and theatre performances, even the movie industry has utilized this incredible site.
And if looking for something in the United States… The Seattle Underground in Washington is extremely cool to witness. Lying under Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood there are bars, hotels, banks, and even shops that sit abandoned since 1889, when the Great Seattle Fire hit the city, razing most of the wood buildings in the business district at that time. With people capitalizing in on rebuilding efforts, they failed to do it correctly, and in 1965, a local citizen established a very popular Underground Tour (Bill Speidel) where you will learn all about what “really happened” and what “used to be.”
If a fan of “War Games,” the Cheyenne Mountain Complex set in Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs is the place for you. Inside lies the Combat Operations Center which became a self-contained and sufficient town hidden underneath the Rockies. It was meant to withstand a Soviet nuclear attack with NORAD – the North American Aerospace Command being the leaders of it all. Closed at one time, it was reopened to the public to tour in 2015.
Last, but not least, if you’re headed to “Sin City” for a little gambling fun, you just have to leave those gaming tables for a minute to check out Bunker Palace. At 15,000+ square feet, this complex is actually on the market, for sale at just $1.7 million. A two-story home is visible at street level, but underground you find an actual house with a lawn, hot tubs, and a 360-degree mural of the “Great Outdoors.” You add in a putting green, and this becomes the one place that would cause you to never want to “come up for air” again. A perfect setting for either a vampire or a person who is simply looking for a house that is one-of a-kind.
So when you plan your next vacation and want something out of the ordinary, just remember that there are “spots” on the map you can find and visit that will give you both thrills and chills. All you have to do is look…down.
Source: Baret News