Ukraine has lots of fascinating locations that fascinate travelers and adventurers. Do you think you’re an experienced in extreme tourism? Then you need to see Ukrainian underground wonders. Huge tunnels that are several kilometers long can sometimes tell you more about the history of the city than the city itself. Swirls of dark underground tunnels stretch out to hundreds of kilometers. Inside you can find old writings and paintings on the wall, and even household items. And that’s just a tiny part of what’s waiting for you inside! Almost every Ukrainian city with a long and eventful history has its own string of underground mazes.
Lutsk is an ancient city in the South West of Ukraine. It is part of Volyn region that borders on two countries at the same time, Belarus and Poland. The population of the city is 215.000 people. Back in 1895 it was mostly populated by Jews, and later by Catholics. Protestant and Orthodox Christian are the latest addition to the population of the city. Lutsk has a very well developed tourist infrastructure. The city is divided into the New City and Old City. The latter is the biggest tourist attraction. The Old City is also the place where you will find the little explored dungeons of Lutsk Cathedral. An old legend tells us that these tunnels used to lead to every neighboring settlement around the city. But there is something else that attracts tourists to the dungeons. The thing is that in the 1970s a prison and a number of household premises were discovered there. Since then this place has been a major visitor attraction. Later people started spreading rumors about ghosts living in the dungeons. These stories, told by tourists who had visited the location, make the dungeons in Lutsk a perfect spot for adventurers.
Nowadays Lutsk is a tourist centre with a highly developed travel infrastructure. The thoroughly restored local architecture is fascinating and genuine. Modern lifestyle hasn’t influenced the authentic beauty of the old city. Tourists have plenty of places to see and to have rest in. Numerous local restaurants, saunas, billiard halls and affordable cafes are welcoming visitors.
Rivne is another city that attracts a lot of adventurers. Underneath the city of Rivne there are remains of an old settlement that used to stand there centuries before the modern days. This place used to be called Surenzh and was largely populated. In the undergrounds of Rivne you will find remains of an old Slavic capital of the II-IX centuries. Nowadays historians and history enthusiasts perform numerous excavations and researches on the site. There is scientific evidence of an ancient city being located underneath Rivne that can be found in the annals of the Arabs and the Persians. Slavic people were mentioned as tribes in the annals created by al-Balkhi, al-Istakhri, Ibn Haukal and Dzhanhani. The same annals tell us about the settlement not far from Kuyavia (the land of Kiev) and Slavia, where the city of Veliky Novgorod was later built. The annals of al-Istakhri mention three tribes. The first one was located close to Bulgar, the second one lived further from the first one and was called Slavia. The third tribe was known as Artania, and its Tsar resided in Arta. There is no doubt as to whether these annals are ture, as Muslims had very strict policies regarding their annals. The same chronicler stated that Artania conducted trade with the Eastern Arab countries and produced a lot of gold and black sable fur. The name of Artania’s capital, Arta, has a strong connection to the city of Ortania, or Ukrainian Aratta, which actually existed. The etynology of the name is linked to Iran, the country of the Aryans. It is likely that this land was founded by Scythian descendants. Nowadays these little explored underground remains are a must-see for every tourist.
Ostrog might seem like a regular city if it wasn’t for its rich and long history. This place is linked to lots of famous personalities from history. Did you know that Ostrog used to be a scientific and cultural centre in the medieval times? The town of Ostrog is surrounded by a lot of mysteries. These mysteries, combined with local historic attractions, are what brings tourists there.
The most popular tourist attraction in Ostrog is Ostrog castle. It’s an ancient castle that was constructed in the XIII-XVI centuries. Nowadays it is far from its best condition. However, the castle is constantly being renovated, which is why we can expect it to look significantly better in the nearest future. Inside the castle’s territory there is a XIV century Stone Tower, a XVI century Round Toiwer, and a Cathedral of the Epiphany that is estimated to have been built in the XV-XVI centuries. Also there you can see the gate tower that was built in 1905, as well as the remains of the castle walls. On October 12, 2011 a startling discovery was made in the castle. The Deputy Chief of Ostrog district branch of Ministry of Internal Affairs, Victoria Antonova, officially stated the following: “During the floor renovation in the Holy Resurrection Church the floor suddenly collapsed. When the site was examined, a crypt with the remnants of 30 people was discovered”. The skeletons belonged to people who lived the XVII century. A century ago these bodies were reburied, and a monastery was founded above the underground crypt. Ostrog dungeons, including this one, are a subject of numerous exciting legends. One of the legends tells us about an enormous underground town that has a ghost of the black monk wandering around the dungeons. What’s interesting is that the official statement issued by the police stated that the discovered bodies most likely belonged to the monks.
Lviv is a prominent tourist location on its own. In addition it has a wide string of ancient dungeons that are hundreds of kilometers long. These underground tunnels connect virtually all significant locations of Lviv. The most famous dungeon is a shelter that was built manually with the help of concrete along the bank of Poltva river. This shelter used to save hundreds of lives during the World War II. During the mass shootings hundreds of Jews were hiding in the shelter. Lviv underground is a calm and slightly mysterious place. Even though the tunnels stretch out to hundreds of kilometers, tourists can only explore the safe parts of it. One of these safe parts of the dungeons is the dungeon of the Jesuit Church that was used as a grocery warehouse, and later as a prison and burial place. The incredible thing about the underground caves is their ceiling height that reaches 4 meters. Several bricks still have human fingerprints – it was the way for ancient builders to leave their mark on the history of Lviv. At the time bricks were made from raw clay and were laid at once.
The sarcophagus made of solid stone is a must-see for visitors of this attraction. The sarcophagus was discovered in the mid-XVIII century and weighs 600 kilos. The weird thing about the sarcophagus is that is has a birth date but no death date. One of the walls of this massive tomb was broken, and the remaining evidence suggests that someone or something broke free from the tomb through that wall. Also there is an underground museum where you can see a lot of fascinating and unique exhibits. There is a fully preserved medieval alchemist’s lab. There you can see an old medicine handbook and discover a collection of medicines that were used by our ancestors. The Lviv pharmacy was founded 400 years ago and has been working until today under a different name.
The southern city at the seaside is rightfully known as one of Ukraine’s most beautiful cities, but only few people besides locals know about a little discovered network of underground tunnels that stretch out to thousands of meters and are known as Odessa catacombs. The history of catacombs in Odessa is fascinating and includes a lot of significant events in the history of Odessa, especially in the times of World War II. Almost every house in the old part of Odessa is built from shell deposit that was mined with the help of saws not far from the place where the city was constructed. Mines were built randomly, because miners were attracted to gold that the customers were willing to pay for the materials. As a result Odessa ended up having a large number of mines that were connected in an underground system that is 2.5 kilometers long. Catacombs in Odessa are much bigger and noteworthy than any catacombs in the world. Even nowadays there isn’t any map of the numerous underground tunnels. They are located on different heights. Catacombs are essentially a huge underground city with its own streets, boulevards and squares. A large part of the catacombs are still not researched, which is why it’s hard to even imagine what can be hidden inside them. This infamous place was a destination for dangerous criminals, escaped convicts and homeless. Mass raids initiated by the authorities were not successful, and the inhabitants of the catacombs seemed to simply disappear in the dungeons. Odessa catacombs were a home for the people who lived there, but strangers who got lost inside were doomed. If a person didn’t know the way around the tunnels or had no source of light, this person was almost sure to die eventually.
These catacombs received notoriety because of the case against Rozenberg and Chelibi brothers. The brothers made their income by delivering smuggled goods to the centre of Odessa. The profit from this kind of job was mind-blowing. The brothers used to hire groups of workers (18 people per group) to dig tunnels for the delivery. After every raid goods were delivered through these tunnels right along the Opera Theater. In the outskirts of the theatre there was a deep well that was used for taking the goods out to the surface. After that the smuggled goods were brought to the centre of Odessa and sold.
The modern Odessa catacombs are a mysterious underground world that will take days to explore. People come here for different reasons: some tourists want to spend some time discovering secrets, others do it for the thrill, and some adventurers try to find the hidden treasures. However, do you really need any reasons to explore the excitingly mysterious dungeons?
If you’re planning to visit the catacombs, better hire a guide, as it’s very easy to get lost there even if you have a lantern. Exploring catacombs in a safe way will give you the same lasting memories. After traveling down 70 steps, you will end up in the World War II era. This dungeon has a creepy charm that is supported by stone beds, weapon workshops and libraries. In the ceiling you will see roots of plants that grown above. Lots of bats are flying around the catacombs looking for a way out. Rest assured: you won’t forget your trip any time soon. It is a well-known fact that during the war large guerilla units were hiding there.
If you’re dreaming of discovering treasures in the catacombs, remember that according to an old belief you can’t take things you found underground out of the catacombs. These things are believed to belong to an ancient pagan god But. In order not to anger the god, you have to leave one of your possessions instead of your discovery. People say that a sailor had hidden a large ship model made of solid gold inside the maze but never came back to pick it back. Who knows, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to discover the treasure? In that case you have to prepare something to give But instead of the finding. As we all know, catacombs are a dangerous place where anything can happen, so think ahead and don’t do anything reckless for easy money or adrenaline.