If you fall into a cold, claustrophobic sweat when looking at small spaces, then this is not for you.
For the rest, welcome to some of the most incredible underground man-made marvels the world has to offer.
The collection was put together by CNN, and while it might not feature “lairs” per se, one could easily imagine transforming each of them into an evil villain’s secret hideout.
From a theme park in an abandoned Romanian mine to a cathedral 183 below Colombia’s surface, let’s go on an underground journey, shall we?
Turda salt mine, Romania
Salina Turda, 450 km north-west of Bucharest in Transylvania, is known for its underground salt mining.
The salt provided great wealth to Hungarian kings and Habsburg emperors, but since mining ceased in 1932 its found different uses:
The mine was used as a shelter in World War II, a cheese storage centre after that, and now as a subterranean theme park featuring mini-golf, bowling and rowing around the man-made lake.
Isn’t it pretty? Pretty scary, yeah.
Cabinet War Rooms, England
A week before World War II commenced, Down Street station was abandoned for the Cabinet War Rooms in Whitehall. It hosted 115 cabinet meetings and was used around the clock until August 16, 1945, when lights in the Map Room were switched off for the first time in six years:
Preserved entirely unchanged since the conflict ended, the Imperial War Museum has opened up the bunker to the public, where visitors can retrace the steps of Churchill’s victory.
Perfect for all you World War II enthusiasts.
Radhuset metro station, Sweden
This is the Radhuset subway station in Stockholm, Sweden and might make your commute feel like a ride through hell:
The sculptural finish is one of over 90 subway stations in the city to have been decorated by over 150 artists.
There’s one with a rainbow and another with a piano staircase.
Bounce Below, Wales
Bounce Below opened in a 176-year-old disused slate mine near Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales back in 2015. Instantly, it became a subterranean playground when the R12,5 million investment installed a giant, multi-tiered trampoline network suspended in a cavern the size of a cathedral.
Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, Colombia
Another salt mine, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira sits 185 metres underground in Cundinamarca, Colombia. Work began on the space in 1950 for workers to pray before their shift. Dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary, patron saint of miners in 1954, it’s a popular tourist site 45 km north of Bogota
[T]he Gallery Nueveochenta took over the space, using it to house contemporary art by the likes of Aldo Chaparro Winder.
Inspired to travel, or to just find an abandoned underground lair to turn into your own hangout?
CNN has a few more suggestions up their sleeves, just in case you’re thinking seriously about it.
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