Top 3 Ancient Underground Cities and Temples

Considering all the scientific and archaeological finds pointing to our ancestors living in crafted stone huts and caves, is it really surprising to discover numerous underground tunnels which are attached to living quarters, or connected to ancient monuments?

In the region of Cappadocia, Turkey, there are an astounding 36 subterranean cities – all of them completely self-sufficient, with plenty of air-shafts and underground wells, with numerous ones linked to each other by tunnel networks.  Where else in the world can you find tunnels and underground cities? Keep reading to find out:

  1. Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, Malta

It is the only known prehistoric underground city, and is believed to have been created around 4,000 BC. Since its discovery and subsequent opening to the public in 1902, only 80 people per day are allowed into the sanctuary-turned-necropolis, to prevent degradation of the structure. It is a man-made structure which was created from natural caves that were extended; as with many ancient structures, there is one room that emits a powerful acoustic resonance when spoken words or music is played within it. Several temples in South America share this characteristic, such as Chichen Itza at the Temple of Kukulcan – here, if you clap your hands the sound which reverberates back is like the chirp of a native Quetzal bird. A relatively new field, archaeoacoustics, studies these kinds of phenomena, and the impact they have on the human brain.

Hypogeum of Hal-Saflieni.  By Hamelin de Guettelet

  1. Kish Qanat, Kariz,Iran

Discovered under layers of land, the ancient city and aqueducts of Kish are believed to have been created 5,000 years ago, and are one of the best examples of ancient technology. It is similar to structures that the Persians invented, which brought underground water to the surface of arid areas.  Currently, there are plans to turn this ancient wonder into a modern underground city, complete with shopping malls, housing, and entertainment areas. Visitors which come to Kish can marvel at one of the only structures in the world to have a natural coral ceiling.

Tikal temple one. By Raymond Ostertag

  1. Tikal, Guatemala, South America 

Below the Mayan temple of Tikal in the Yucatan Peninsula, is an underground complex that criss-crosses below the jungle floor, and almost reaches the other side of the continent.  These tunnels may explain the escape of Incans and Mayan from the Spanish Conquistadors who decimated the indigenous cultural beliefs and their civilizations, in an attempt to ‘Catholicize’ them. Below the temples of the sun and the moon in Teotihuacan, Mexico archaeologists have discovered a recreation of the Mayan underworld, along with seven bodies of presumed rulers.

A Fabled City and tantalising clues

City of the Gods, Giza, Egypt

Though Egyptian authorities deny its existence, there is believed to be an underground “City of the Gods” below the Giza Plateau in Egypt, with a possible entrance in the sphinx. In fact, Dr. Zahi Hawass documented the tunnels entrance 14th of April, 1996 only to refute their existence several years later. The neighbouring Tomb of Osiris, a burial chamber cut into limestone rock just outside of Cairo, has several tunnels within it, that as of yet are unexplored due to the high mud content.

The Great Sphyinx of Giza – By Barcex.

Author Bio: Roseanna McBain is a writer for TravelGround, a Margate booking and accommodation website. She has a special interest in ancient cultures and civilizations, and enjoys reading up on the various myths and legends around the world.


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