An Adventure Under the Streets of Odessa

When a person travels a lot, many of the available attractions can become quite monotonous. It may seem that after a while, all the museums start to look the same, the monuments are all attributed to the same thing and nothing is really all that interesting anymore. Well, if you’ve reached that place in your travels to Ukraine, there’s nothing like a visit to the Museum of Partisan Glory to leave you feeling wide awake.

When one mentions the word ‘catacombs’, most people immediately think of Rome. But the Museum of Partisan Glory is not situated in Rome, it’s situated under the streets of Odessa, Ukraine. Not many people are aware that there are about 1000 km (620 miles) of tunnels lying beneath the city of Odessa. Apparently the majority of these tunnels were quarried out for building purposes during the 19th century. However, they have since played several interesting roles in the history of the city and her people. Though these catacombs were not used to bury the dead, they certainly are deathly silent and dark and you may well find the hair standing up on the back of your neck on more than one occasion.

The Museum of Partisan Glory in Ukraine originally had a very noble purpose, as it played a role in the construction of the city above. However, not long after they had been abandoned by the workmen, they became a hiding place for smugglers and revolutionaries. During WWII they gained their most famous role as a hideout for WWII partisans, or resistance fighters, after which the catacombs are now named. Much like a normal museum, various artifacts have been left in the tombs to document the way of life of people at the time. However, unlike most other museums, the exhibits are given an eerie edge by the complete blackness that surrounds them. As one examines an old underground kitchen, it isn’t easy to imagine people scuffling around in the dimly lit gloom of the tunnels going about their daily business. A grain grinding stone and other artifacts help you to etch out an idea of the sort of lives they must have lived. Hidden in the depths of the earth, the silence in these catacombs can be deafening. Indeed, it is not difficult to imagine that if the lights were to go out, you might “feel” another, more eerie presence in the tunnels with you. An startling sign painted onto the walls indicates the strength of the feelings of those who once hid in these tunnels and preyed on the Nazis – It says: ‘Blood for Blood’.

The entrance to the Museum of Partisan Glory in Ukraine is located seven miles from Odessa near the Nerubayske village. It costs $30 per a person to enter and all tours are guided. If you’re in the mood for something a little different, make sure you don’t miss out on this great attraction. But be warned – claustrophobics should stay out!