Beijing Underground City
The precursor to Beijing Underground City was a huge underground civil air defense shelter, which started to be built in 1969 and was finished in 1979. With its entrance at Xidamochang Street, Qianmen Gate, Beijing Underground City is over 30 kilometers long, yet only one kilometer of it is open to the public now.
Beijing Underground City is eight meters below the ground and is two meters wide; it can accommodate over 300,000 people at one time, and has over 70 sites which are rich in groundwater. It has more than 3,000 ventilation holes, which continuously allow fresh air in.
A tablet of "Beijing Underground City" is before your eyes as you enter the underground city, below which the head-portrait of Mao Zedong is placed. Many old photos hang on the camouflage-colored walls in the underground city, highlighted by the photos of the ten outstanding generals of the PRC (Zhu De, Peng Dehuai, Lin Biao, Liu Bocheng, He Long, Chen Yi, Luo Yonghuan, Xu Xianqian, Nie Rongzhen and Ye Jianying). Army relics from the 1960s are scattered everywhere in the underground city, which has a storeroom at each corner, some ammunition depots, some military supply depots and some battleground hospitals. The daily utensils, such as porcelain bowls and shovels used by the masses, are displayed in the city as well. The red skid-proof carpet paves the way through the underground city so you won't get lost as long as you walk along it.
A number of craftwork shops have opened in Beijing Underground City as well, which deal mainly in the four treasures of studying (a writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper), enamels, jade wares, silks, calligraphy works and paintings of celebrities, and traditional Chinese medicines. In addition, cinemas and barbershops are also available in Beijing Underground City. The underground city leads the way up to the Forbidden City, Tian'anmen Square and Beijing Railway Station, so you're advised to visit the Forbidden City, Tian'anmen Rostrum and the Great Wall after visiting the underground city.
- Location: 62, Xidamochang Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing
- Opening times: 9:00am to 4:30pm
- Transportation: bus 8, 9, 41, 44, 60 and 723
I updated this article on September 29, 2013
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