Beijing Underground City, Beijing

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  • Here's the entrance to Beijing Underground City
    Here's the entrance to Beijing...
    by Confucius
  • beijing underground city
    beijing underground city
    by cpim2004
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    Under The Beaten Path: Beijing Underground City

    by Confucius Updated Jun 18, 2005

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    Here's the entrance to Beijing Underground City

    Beijing's underground city was built during the height of the Cultural Revolution in 1969 when it was relatively easy for Mao Zedong to find volunteers.

    The Chinese were sweet buddies with the Soviet Union at the beginning of the communist revolution, but things ultimately turned sour during a bloody border skirmish in northern Heilongjiang province in 1969.

    A system of tunnels, bunkers, and air raid shelters was then built from 1969 to 1979 by thousands of Beijing citizens in case of a nuclear attack. Fortunately the elaborate labyrinthe was never needed for defense purposes and today serves as one of Beijing's least known tourist attractions.

    Inside you can walk around some of the tunnels and see vacant facilities which were once meant to be hospitals, restaurants, schools, theaters, roller skating rinks, and barber shops. The temperature is maintained at 18 degrees Celsius throughout the year.

    If you can read Chinese then you'll enjoy the amusing nostalgic Chinese slogans and murals still visible on the walls, with Mao quotes calling for people to "dig deep" and hopefully "win the fight against American imperialists and Soviet revisionists"

    The only activity you might see is at an underground silk workshop where you can observe the entire silk-making process, but it is actually a recent addition contracted out to Jiangsu entrepreneurs hoping to sell pillow covers and pajamas to Hong Kong and Taiwan tour groups.

    Admission into the tunnel costs 20 yuan for adults and 10 for children. It's best to bring your own flashlight, which you can find available for sale (very cheap) at stores on nearby Qianmen Dong Dajie.

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    Beijing's Underground City

    by cpim2004 Written Apr 30, 2005

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    beijing underground city

    For more than 20 years, Beijing’s Underground City, a bomb shelter just beneath the ancient capital’s downtown area, has been virtually forgotten by local citizens, despite being well-known amongst foreigners since it officially opened in 2000.
    The Underground City has also been called the Underground Great Wall, since they had the same purpose: military defense.
    This complex is a relic of the Sino-Soviet border conflict in 1969 over Zhenbao Island in northeast China’s Heilongjiang River, a time when chairman Mao Zedong ordered the construction of subterranean bomb shelters in case of nuclear attack.
    The tunnels, built from 1969 to 1979 by more than 300,000 local citizens and even school children, wind for over 30 kilometers and cover an area of 85 square kilometers eight to eighteen meters under the surface. It includes around a thousand anti-air raid structures.

    The address is 62 West Damochang Street, Qianmen, tel. 6702-2657. Apparently, there is another site in Beijing Qianmen Carpet Factory at 44 Xingfu Dajie, Chongwen District, tel. 6701-5079 and a lesser known one at 18 Dazhalan Jie in Qianmen.

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    What can I see in here?

    by ntm2322 Updated Nov 11, 2007

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    Business in the Underground City is blooming. Just to have an idea I can tell you that the number of hotel beds (in the Underground City) is almost the equivalent to the half of the total offered at guest houses in Beijing. Can you believe it?

    What you can see in the Underground City:

    - Wangfujing: the underground air raid shelters are now used for youth hostel, shopping and business centre,

    - Chongwen and Xuanwu: there are two underground theaters, Chongwen Theater, to the south of the east gate of the Temple of Heaven Park, and Xuanwu Underground Theater beneath Xuanwu Cultural Center. A constant temperature of 20-25ºC is maintained year-round.

    - Qianmen: for silk and carpet outlets,

    - Xicheng: the bomb shelter has been converted to a wholesale market of about a thousand stalls.

    - Xidan shopping area: the stores underneath occupy an area of over 5,000 square meters north of Chang'an Hotel, 4,000 used for storage, the rest for business. A constant temperature of 27ºC is maintained year-round with relative humidity never above 78 percent.

    Underneath Xidan there are also four restaurants:

    a) "The Plum Garden", serving Western cuisine,

    b) "The Bamboo Grove", serving Western cuisine,

    c) "The Blue Valley", serving Western snacks and beverages,

    d) "The Chrysanthemum Park", serving Western snacks and beverages

    - Ditan: Do you like skating? A spacious roller skating rink below Ditan opens daily between 8 AM to 9 PM.

    For those interested in seeing part of the Underground City, the address is

    - 62 West Damochang Street, Qianmen, tel. 6702-2657, 6701-1389

    - Beijing Qianmen Carpet Factory at 44 Xingfu Dajie, Chongwen District, tel. 6701-5079

    - 18 Dazhalan Jie in Qianmen.

    Tour groups can enter free of charge without prior permission, whilst individual tourists are charged 20 Yuans (US$2.4).

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    I want to visit it!

    by ntm2322 Written Nov 11, 2007

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    For those interested in seeing part of the Underground City, the address is

    - 62 West Damochang Street, Qianmen, tel. 6702-2657, 6701-1389

    - Beijing Qianmen Carpet Factory at 44 Xingfu Dajie, Chongwen District, tel. 6701-5079

    - 18 Dazhalan Jie in Qianmen.

    Tour groups can enter free of charge without prior permission, whilst individual tourists are charged 20 Yuans (US$2.4).

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  • vic&michael's Profile Photo

    The Underground City.

    by vic&michael Written Aug 18, 2005

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    We were taken on a whirlwind tour of the Underground City by a young soldier. It is rather hard to find despite having it on the Lonely Planet guide map. Look out for a simple door with a small sign. It is amazing to see that they have built an underground city by hand. The tunnels link up to Tian'an Men Square, and the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. Also, all the other cities in China have got underground cities.

    Underground Cities were made when China was under the threat of invasion from Russia. The one in Beijng can hold 30,000 people. Huge. But there are 4 million people in Beijing? What happens to all the rest? Who gets to go underground and be safe? Who dies? Lucky there's no threat from Russia anymore.

    Actually, I found the tour (or more accurately, fast walk) a little boring. Learning about the fact that Beijing has an underground city and what it was meant for was more interesting than visiting it. Cold, dark, damp, large, and a very fast tour by an unimpressed guide. THey also lead you through a souviner shop that is underground...

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    Going underground!

    by ntm2322 Updated Nov 11, 2007

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    The Underground City opened in 2000 and is a ‘bomb shelter’ initially built for military defense beneath Beijing’s downtown area.

    It is said that these tunnels link all areas of central Beijing, from Xidan and Xuanwumen to Qianmen and Chongwen districts, to as far as the Western Hills. Besides, there is an underground passage that goes from Beijing all the way to Tianjin, simply amazing.

    Why an underground city?
    In 1969 there was a conflict involving the Soviet Union and China over Zhenbao Island in northeast China’s Amur River (Heilongjiang).

    In the event of a Soviet nuclear attack, Chairman Mao Zedong ordered the construction of subterranean bomb shelters which were built between 1969 and 1979. As a result a 32-kilometer city was born, covering an area of 85 square kilometers, eight to eighteen meters under the surface and having around a thousand anti-air raid structures.

    The Underground City was then equipped with facilities such as stores, restaurants, guesthouses, clinics, schools, theaters, reading rooms, factories, a roller skating rink, a grain and oil warehouse as well as barber shops and a mushroom cultivation farm, for growing foods that require little light.

    Over 2,300 special ventilation systems with hatches were installed, and gas and waterproof hatches constructed against chemical attack. There are also more than 70 sites inside the tunnels to dig wells. The temperature is said to be at a constant 27 degrees Celsius.

    To supply construction materials for the complex, centuries-old city walls and towers that used to circle ancient Beijing were destroyed (Xizhimen, Fuchengmen, Chongwenmen and other city gates). Only Zhengyangmen and Deshengmen watchtowers survived.

    The Underground City was never needed for its intended purpose but it has been maintained by city officials. It is now claimed to have ninety entrances but for safety reasons most of the tunnels have been shut off and foreign visitors usually see (accompanied by a guide, of course), some small approved sections.

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    20 million square meters by 2012

    by ntm2322 Written Nov 11, 2007

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    Since March of 2007, a brigade of over 12,000 engineers began the construction of the Underground City at 15 separate sites in Beijing.

    According to the official plans (led directly by the State Council and the Central Military Commission) the Beijing Underground City will occupy 20 million square meters and its completion is scheduled for the year of 2012.

    The future Beijing underground city will link up its 11 districts and 7 counties through 20 main lines of communication. Command centers will be located in the east, south, west and north sides of the city, with 12 to 16 sub-centers throughout.

    In times of peace, 52 exits will be available, while in times of war or emergencies, 128 to 168 sites will be opened for evacuating inhabitants and deploying materials.

    The underground city will be linked to the CCP's central compound, including government and military, military bases, airports, railways, strategic roads, parks and suburban strongholds.

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  • Undergournd City - June, 2010

    by joelnili1983 Updated Feb 7, 2011

    Don't bother with The Underground City. It is very difficult to find and when you find the entrance you will discover that is no longer open to tourists. We looked for it on two trips to Beijing. On the last trip we finally discovered the entrance only to learn that it is closed. There is a sign at the entrance indicating that it is closed. Very disappointing.

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