Built during the 1970s in anticipation of a nuclear conflict with the former Soviet Union, Beijing’s Underground City is a fascinating labyrinth of tunnels that boasts everything featured aboveground for the convenience of a six-million-strong populace forced to flee underground. Explore this and Beijing’s treasure trove of cultural attractions to enhance your stay at a luxury serviced apartment in Beijing such as those you will discover at the Somerset ZhongGuanCun Beijing. Centrally located and elegantly appointed interiors, these Beijing serviced apartments are some of the finest in the city. Also known as Dixia Cheng, the Underground City was built under the patronage of Chairman Mao Zedong during the escalating Sino-Soviet tensions in 1969. Although never used as the bomb shelter it was designed to be, it features restaurants, schools, factories, and even theatres and a roller skating rink to fully accommodate and comfort the entire population of Beijing during times of conflict. It boasts well-planned urban design, with a mushroom cultivation site, oil and grain warehouses, and more than 70 sites at which water could be extracted. It also boasts intricate ventilation systems as well as various hatches and shafts that could be closed to prevent the entry of chemical and radioactive fallout. An amazing facet of its construction was that the tunnels were dug mostly by hand, and more than 300,000 citizens, including school kids, played a part in it. Official entry is through a small shop located south of Tianeman Square. Visitors are able to see chambers with the labels of proposed functions, such as “cinema” and “arsenal”. The tour will also cover a silk-making factory that demonstrates the extraction and production process, and visitors will also be able to purchase a variety of silken products from the shop onsite. Tour access to the tunnels is free, whilst individuals will be charged 20 yuan. Whether alone or in a group, the Beijing Underground City provides a unique adventure not available elsewhere.
Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and intends to visit them all someday.