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Mysterious underground of the CR − Bohemia

photo: Rabštejn (podzemirabstejn.cz)

Underground corridors and cellars, mines, galleries, tunnels and even factories left by the Germans- can be found not only in the Czech Republic, but in many other places throughout Europe. In the past, underground premises were used mainly for practical reasons for storing food, or as sanctuaries and emergency exits in case of danger. Now we would like to invite you to get to know the most significant of them in the CR.

We will focus on the western part of the Czech Republic, i.e. Bohemia, this time.

The most famous historical underground premises in Bohemia:

The Plzen Historical Underground was gradually built from the 13th to 19th century. It is composed of two- to three-storey cellars, which served for storing food as well as craft shops, wine-making rooms, malt-houses, which include special-purpose technical equipment such as a drainage gallery, galleries supplying water to the waterworks, canalisation and wells. Today, the labyrinth of the round tour is about 800 metres long.

The Klatovy Catacaombs are crypts located below the Jesuit Church of the Virgin Mary's Immaculate Conception and St. Ignatius in Klatovy. They were constructed along with the church from 1656 to 1676 and have become the resting place of members of the Jesuit Order and its benefactors from the ranks of local nobility, military and townspeople. The corpses of the dead were placed on wood shavings inside oak coffins surrounded by hops. As a result of air penetrating into the crypts by a system of ventilation canals, they were gradually dried, i.e. mummified, so that that they now weigh from 8 to 10 kg. The corpses thus stayed practically intact for many centuries. The catacombs are a significant Klatovy monument.

The Underground Rabštejn Factory is a system of underground rooms dug out in sandstone rocks in the vicinity of the towns of Česká Kamenice (Map) and Janská (Map) near the city of Děčín (Map), which were, along with the surrounding above-surface premises, used by the Germans for military aircraft production during the Second World War. The underground system is about 4.5 km long and was dug by prisoners from the Rabštejn Concentration Camp. 6,000 people worked in the 11 assembly halls that were gradually constructed. After the war, the premises served for the needs of the Czechoslovak Army and in the 1960s, they were used as stores of propellants for the armies of the Visegrád Group. Today, a part of the underground factory is accessible to the public.

The Underground Richard Factory is located near Litoměřice (Map). The system of three former underground limestone mines called Richard I, Richard II and Richard III were rebuilt into a secret underground factory for producing engines for tanks and other heavy vehicles by the Germans during the Second World War. It is a very large complex of underground premises with the total length of about 25 to 30 km. The premises are not accessible to the public. A part of the former factory serves as storage for radioactive waste today.

Author: Romana Kuncová
Added: 05.10.2012

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