One of largest system of catacombs in the world in Odessa,Ukraine

Beneath the city of Odessa, in Ukraine, there is an extensive network of tunnels, in what is believed to be the largest in the world system of catacombs. Largely unexplored and "scattered" randomly below the city, the huge maze of underground passages stretches over 2,500 kilometers. If the catacombs be presented in a straight line, the tunnels come to Paris. By the way, Paris is also the place where the second largest catacombs in the world, but Odessa is five times larger than Paris.

Entrance to the "Museum of partisan glory" in the Catacombs of Odessa. Image: goneva.net.ua

It is difficult to know the date on which the first catacomb in Odessa was excavated, but what is known is that greatly expanded from the late eighteenth century, when Catherine the Great ordered the construction of a new port city together Sea. An incredible amount of mining activity was carried out to extract limestone needed for the construction of the city. Tunnels were dug more than 30 meters deep, at three different levels. When the tunnels ran out oflimestone, they were dug new, and it was through this process by which an intricate network of tunnels began to take shape.

Up of a section of the catacombs of Odessa. Picture: Reddit

Mining continued throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century until the outbreak of the Russian Revolution of 1917. At that time, the mines fell into the hands of criminals and vagrants who started using the tunnels for meetings and smuggling goods. There was a time when these dark and dirty even tunnels were used by slave traders. 

When the Nazis came to Odessa and began to massacre the population of the city, the catacombs served as a hideout for Soviet partisans. Hideouts were converted into comfortable spaces by guerrillas later. There were recreation rooms where men played checkers, chess or dominoes. The guestrooms were divided by shelves, sleeping on one side men and women on the other. The kitchens were equipped with stoves and smoke was vented into empty chambers. There was even a hospital and an operating room.

Some of the tunnels have been rebuilt today, allowing visitors to see the exact conditions in which supporters lived. In the "Museum of partisan glory" near Nerubayskoye, there is a kilometer - long section of catacombs with mannequins, costumes and weapons of World War II. 

In this mysterious maze under the ground, there are more than a thousand known entrances leading to hidden caves where modern explorers routinely uncover ancient artifacts such as coins, tools, clothes, kitchen utensils and rifles of World War II among others. 

Remember that enter the tunnels without a guide it is extremely dangerous. It is easy to enter the dark and never return.

Photos by talented Vitaly Izotov  @bushmastere2s ,thanks Vitaly!


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