Catacombs of Odessa – An Extensive Maze of Underground Tunnels
The City of Odessa in Ukraine is home to more then one million people. It is also where tourists will find the Odessa Catacombs: a maze of underground tunnels that makes up a distance of approximately 2,500 kilometers. Amazingly, these underground tunnels make up a large network that is hidden beneath the city. The Odessa Catacombs developed over a long period of time taking almost two hundred years to come to the level of completion you see today.
This is not a natural phenomenon, but one that man has definitely had a hand in. Two centuries ago Odessa was not much to look at. Its development has been a slow process, taking many years to form into the city we see surrounding us. It required an incredible amount of mining and industrial work to take place, building and construction of the necessary buildings and infrastructure was required. Thus it was through this building process that much waste material and refuse was discarded, forming these intricate catacombs that you may have had the privilege of visiting.
The catacomb is a large, mysterious labyrinth filled with hidden caves. At one time these dark and dingy tunnels were said to have been used by abusive slave traders. Today a lot of the tunnels have been reconstructed, allowing you to see the exact conditions that they were used in. Warning: You have to be careful you don’t get lost! Observe your surroundings and make sure you know exactly where you are as there are a hundred different ways to go in and out of the Odessa catacombs. Who knows where you might end up if you don’t keep an eye on where you are going?
The Odessa catacombs also played an important role during the Second World War, being used extensively by the Romanian and German armies as a campsite. The catacombs proved to be a profitable site, allowing the armies to house enough food and weaponry to keep them underground for almost six months at a time. As you leave the Odessa catacombs take a few minutes to go through the museum and listen to recordings of events that took place in this maze full of history. You will also notice that there is a building that has been recreated to look exactly like the resistance head-quarters used during both World Wars.
Something to keep in mind when walking in and around the Odessa catacombs is that it is not an activity to take lightly if you suffer from any leg injuries or physical disabilities. It would be advisable that you rather leave this excursion out of your ‘must see’ list, for safety, if you have such problems.