A nearby town from where I live is reestablishing it's historic underground for tourism. I thought it's worth checking out and we were not disappointed. Taking pictures was not allowed inside the dungeon, but I'll share what I can.
A little history
The guide told us they can say that parts of the dungeon existed already 600 years ago. At that time it was a small trading town with a port and circa 4.000 inhabitants. It was used for storage, as a last defense or escape, as a meeting place and even as a place to live. The town is build an a slope and the soil is very suitable for tunneling. And tunneling they did. A lot. As of this writing they've rediscovered 600 rooms and they believe there are up to 600 rooms still to be rediscovered. They started doing so because this had happened:
|It went 4 meters down from there on... [Photographer: Martin Kaemper]|
More beer in dungeons and other interesting facts
All in all we saw about 600 meters and maybe 10 rooms of the underground, ranging from the 14th century up to as early as 1940. Here are a few of my observations and knowledge I could gather:
- They had pieces of slate incorporated into the ceiling, because they leave splinters on the floor as soon as they break. It's what you'd want to know when the earth moved and passage isn't save anymore. I thought that was clever...
- The temperature down there was somewhere between 15° and 17° Celsius and it's really damp, so it feels actually colder. Forget storing books or fabrics down there for a longer time.
- We were told there is something like underground weather. For instance you can tell it had rained on the surface, because the walls start to glisten as soon as the water gets down there.
- They stored all kinds of stuff in the dungeon, but mainly beer. That's because alcohol kills germs and it was healthier than drinking water.
- It was very easy to distinguish different tunneling phases alone by the materials used. Parts of the dungeon even got sealed between centuries just to get rid of waste. A dungeon is always changing if somebody is living in it.
- No even or straight passages. The ceilings in the tunnels never had the same height, with very low ceilings being the standard. Rooms, though, had always higher ceilings and came in a lot of different shapes.
- We were between 6 and 10 meters below the surface, at times with up to 4 tunnels over our heads.
- They had discovered very low tunnels (about 1 meter high) and one of the theories about that is, that they used those to send message dogs through.
- We had to wear building-site helmets and it was an interesting experience to see how that alone narrows the perception.
- Orientation and navigation were really difficult. There never was a clear line of sight, too. Mapping would take forever.
That's about it. We'll go there again, into a private part of the dungeon. 1.5 kilometers and for 2 hours. Maybe I'll be able to take pictures then. Two pictures I was allowed to take to give you but a small impression of it. They are from the tourist information and public:
|It's a very small portion of the dungeon!|
|Sorry about the flashlight...|