Beijing Underground City

Beijing Underground City, Beijing Attractions, Beijing Travel GuideIt is surprisingly that some foreigners to Beijing seem to know more about the Underground City than the local Beijing citizens. In the late 1960s, with a Soviet invasion looming, Beijing's citizens started to prepare the underground defense system. About 2000 people with simple tools and 10 years of spare time created this subterranean network, which has now been put into use as an unofficial tourist attraction. The complex is said to cover an area of 85 sq km with a thousand anti-air raid structures. It is now claimed to have ninety entrances to modified shops, theaters, roller skating rinks, hotels, restaurants, schools reading rooms, factories, warehouse (even mushroom cultivation units and barber shops). The temperature is said to be at a constant 27 degree Celsius. It is mentioned that Mao and other leaders had a separate passage way to take them out of the city in the event of an attack on Beijing. Old Chinese documentary films made in the late 1970s do show Beijing dwellers growing mushrooms and raising chickens in the dimly lit tunnels.

At the famous shopping street of Wangfujing, the underground air raid shelters are now used for reasonably priced youth Beijing Underground City, Beijing Attractions, Beijing Travel Guidehostel, shopping and business centre, at Chongwen and Xuanwu for theaters, and at Qianmen for silk and carpet outlets. At the Xicheng area, the bomb shelter has been converted to a wholesale market of about a thousand stalls. Despite the so many entrances, foreign visitors to see the original underground structure are only shown a small approved section through a small shop front in Qianmen south of Tiananmen. Through the small shop you immediately descended into a subterranean entrance with different passage-ways capable of taking three to four people abreast. There were quarters for soldiers, hospital, store rooms, conference rooms and other rooms. The air shaft was opened to show how the ventilation could be shut to protect against water and chemicals. Various tunnels had directions pointing to Nanjing and Tianjin.