Ever wonder what goes on beneath your feet?
Dark, chilly, and quiet… Some are musty and some are wet. Check out five interesting places to sightsee underground.
Basilica Sistern – Istanbul
The Romans built the Basilica Cistern in the sixth century during the rule of Emperor Justinianus. The 9,800 square meter underground chamber, supported by 336 columns, stored water that traveled via aqueduct from Belgrad forest 19 kilometers from the city. In the back of the chamber there are two Medusa heads – one is positioned sideways and the other is upside down. Their origin is unknown, along with the reason for their odd arrangement. This quiet, cool site is a great place to escape the crowds above. If you like taking photos, you’ll find some great shots amidst the rows of uplit columns. See the blog post about our visit to Istanbul >
Cova de Can Marca – Ibiza, Spain
There are a lot of cool things going on in Cova de Can Marca. You’ll see stalagmites, stalactites, underground lakes, fossils, and even a mini light show. During the 45-minute multilingual tour, a guide explains the history of this 100,000 year old limestone cave. We wondered what kinds of goodies the smugglers used to hide there. To reach the cave entrance, you’ll take a five-minute walk down a winding cliff overlooking the picturesque Port de Sant Miguel bay. See the blog post about our visit to Ibiza >
Freixenet – Sant Sanduni d’ Anoia, Spain
When you drink yummy cava, you sometimes don’t think about all that goes into making it. The 90-minute Freixenet tour provides a great overview of the company’s history (it is a family-owned business) and cava making process. In addition to viewing the production facilities, you will visit the original underground cellars. The dark, cool, musty cellars store old vintages and a neat collection of old machinery used to produce cava. See the blog post about our visit to Freixenet >
Dos Ojos Cenote – Tulum, Mexico
Throw on your swimsuit and grab your snorkel or scuba gear before heading to Dos Ojos Cenote in Tulum. This 61 kilometer cave is one of the longest in the world. The cave got its name because it connects to another cenote and the two resemble eyes that look into the large underground cavern. Inside, there are fish and bats. When we visited Tulum in 2012, Michael went on his first scuba dive here. Read about our trip to Tulum >
Catacombs – Paris, France
This is one of our favorite places! In the late 18th century, the Cemetery of the Innocents in Paris became contaminated, so in 1796 the government closed the cemetery and moved the remains to an old underground quarry. It took two years to move all of the remains to the catacombs. The bones are stored by type in carefully arranged piles, e.g., skull, femur, etc. Signs mark the date that the remains were relocated. This place is really cool, and many people know it, so be prepared to wait in line to get in.