|Location:||North ChongWen District at Xidamochang Jie. Qianmen Dongdajie.|
|Open:||All year daily 8:30-17. |
|Fee:||Adults yuan 20. Groups: free. |
Beijing's Underground City, 62 West Damochang Street, Qianmen, Tel: 6702-2657.
Beijing Qianmen Carpet Factory, 44 Xingfu Dajie, Chongwen District, Qianmen, Tel: 6701-5079.
18 Dazhalan Jie, Qianmen.
Beijing Underground City Museum, Xidamochang Jie, Qianmen.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1969||Sino-Soviet border conflict, start of construction.|
|2000||officially opened to foreigners.|
What is simply called Beijing's Underground City is a vast system of bomb shelters beneath the ancient capital's downtown area. Built during the 1970s by more than 300,000 local citizens and even school children, it has 30 kilometers of passages and covers an area of 85 square kilometers. The shelters are eight to eighteen meters below the surface. The 1,000 anti-air raid structures are big enough to house 40% of the capital's population. The structure has also been called the Underground Great Wall.
Beneath the extraordinary and overwhelming size there is also a second parallel to the Great Wall: it is futile. It was never used, and probably it would not have worked very well if there would have been the need to use it in case of nuclear attack. The best thing the locals can do with this structure is to earn some tourist money.
There are many tunnels and other structures. A few of them are officially opened to tourists, others are used as low priced hostels, have been transformed into shopping and business centers, or theaters, the rest is shut off for safety reasons. The most commonly visited location is accessed via a small shop front in Qianmen, south of Tiananmen.