Subterranean bunker-cities


[Image: A map of Wiltshire's Ridge quarry/bunker system; see below].

An article I've not only forwarded to several people but planned whole screenplays around, frankly, reveals that there is a sprawling complex of tunnels located beneath Belgrade.
There, a recent police investigation "into the mysterious shooting of two soldiers has revealed the existence beneath the Serbian capital of a secret communist-era network of tunnels and bunkers that could have served as recent hideouts for some of the world's most-wanted war crimes suspects. The 2-square-mile complex – dubbed a 'concrete underground city' by the local media – was built deep inside a rocky hill in a residential area of Belgrade in the 1960s on the orders of communist strongman Josip Broz Tito. Until recently its existence was known only to senior military commanders and politicians."
So how big is this concrete underground city?
"Tunnels stretching for hundreds of yards link palaces, bunkers and safe houses. Rooms are separated by steel vault doors 10 feet high and a foot thick. The complex has its own power supply and ventilation."
But hundreds of yards? That's nothing.


A secret, 240-acre underground bunker-city has recently come onto the UK housing market.


With 60 miles of tunnels, located 120 feet underground, the whole complex is worth about 5 million quid.


The complex was constructed "in a former mine near Corsham in Wiltshire where stone was once excavated... for the fine houses of Bath."
This subterranean city, as the Times tells us, "was a munitions dump and a factory for military aircraft engines. It was equipped with what was then the second largest telephone exchange in Britain and a BBC studio from where the prime minister could make broadcasts to what remained of the nation."
Radio broadcasts echoing across a landscape of craters.


And now it's for sale.


[A note on these images: these are all photographs – by the very talented and highly prolific Nick Catford – of the Ridge Quarry, in Corsham, Wiltshire, which geographically matches with the Times description, above. That said, the description of the Ridge Quarry provided by Subterranea Britannica does not seem to indicate that we are, in fact, looking at the same mine/quarry/bunker system. (There is a discrepancy in the amount of acreage, for instance). Anyone out there with info, thoughts, or other et ceteras, please feel free to comment... Either way, however, they're cool images, and Subterranea Britannica is always worth a visit now and again].

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Anonymous Lyn Jeffery said...

Check out this wonderful site on the tunnels under Beijing, also originally intended as bomb shelters.

It even comes with a soundtrack.

November 01, 2005 11:23 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

For photos of, apparently, "the real" bunker-city at Corsham – which has to intersect with the bunker/quarry/mine complex above (because it's also in Corsham) (how many underground bunker/quarry/mine-cities can one town have?) – check out this page; see also here, for photos of Burlington, another bunker-complex fitted out to look middle class. They both look like The Shining, frankly. And see top entry on this page at things magazine for a bit more.

Meanwhile, I'll take a look at the Beijing tunnels soon! Thanks for the link –

November 02, 2005 7:32 AM  
Blogger Catatomic said...

I am skeptical these are actual pictures. The lighting is too even. If you've ever worked in photography (either movies or still photoshoots), the amount of lighting equipment could not be hidden. I think these are highly rendered 3D environments for a game either in development or cancelled.

National Geographic has a great spread on the photgraphing of a cave complex (Mexico maybe?) and the amount of equipment needed to light the cavernous space barely lit the interesting parts, most was a black nothingness.

November 04, 2005 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As regards the Labyrinth of Belgrade, Eastern Europe's newest theme park (DisneyUnderWorld?), I love the fact that Saddam knew about it but the CIA didn't. Saddam's freakin' hiring their contractors, and the best intelligence agency in the world's bombing the Chinese embassy. Maybe someone should have sent them a copy of Kusturica's "Underground," produced a full five years prior to bombing commenced.

November 05, 2005 11:11 AM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

Catatomic is right about cave photography being difficult and requiring multiple lights, but the photographer could have shot these himself using a long exposure and multiple flashes from a strobe — just like some cave photographers. Each shot would be time-consuming, but it looks like he knows what he's doing.

Though I like the idea that these might be elaborate 3-D models presented to trick us into thinking they're real.

November 06, 2005 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Sathy said...

Facinating reading about these underground worlds. Just wanted to say that I'm a big fan of this blog!

November 08, 2005 8:21 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Thanks, sathy!

And, Jimmy, you got any cave photos? Or photos of elaborate artificial environments designed to trap BLDGBLOG writers...? Or artificial BLDGBLOG writers used as traps in elaborate environments, or –

November 08, 2005 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BBC Wiltshire have unveiled a whole section of their site full of photos and video of the WW2 underground city/bunker called Burlington near Corsham.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/underground_city/index.shtml

December 17, 2005 11:24 AM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

This is great, thanks -

December 17, 2005 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are not fake pictures *sigh*

June 13, 2006 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Naz said...

Some nice photo's, the lighting equipment for taking photo's such as that are minimal with a long exposure and single flashgun, such as this amazing photo by a dear departed friend http://www.darkplaces.co.uk/phpBB2/album_page.php?pic_id=925

July 25, 2006 10:38 AM  

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