If you prefer to travel off the beaten tracks and find out something unique, you will be impressed by Odessa Catacombs, which is the largest underground labyrinth in the world. Its length is about 2500 kilometers and its depth is up to 40 meters.
For comparison, the length of Catacombs in Paris is approximately 300 kilometers and tunnels under Roma are about 170 kilometers long.
When were they created?
The history of Odessa Catacombs began in the 19th century during the active city development. It came out of quarries, in which the limestone was minded and then used for building. Consequently it was appeared a sophisticated system of underground tunnels which are encompassed the whole city and the suburban area. Stone mining was chaotic and out of control, that is why Odessa Labyrinth is so complicated and disordered. Underground tunnels extend at different depths and with different width and height – from 1.5 to 6 meters. Nowadays the Catacombs are also used for stone mining, so its area is still growing.
How were the Labyrinths of Odessa Used?
Every tunnel has its unique history and hides its own secrets. For years the poorest people and criminals had used the catacombs as a shelter. Smugglers transported contraband goods through these tunnels. It is said, that even the Masons used Odessa Catacombs while escaping the police. During the revolution of 1917 the Bolshevik typography was also settled in here.
But the most famous Odessa Catacombs is for the role, which they played during the World War II. They became a refuge for partisans, where they not only struggled with the enemy, but also lived, slept, cooked food. You will be able to visit the unique underground Museum of Partisan Glory and observe not only the partisan’s weapons, but also household items, personal things, photos.
Despite of the fact, that Odessa Catacombs have been explored for decades, much of their history is still unknown. A huge part of the Labyrinth is still undiscovered and the number of its secrets is still unrevealed. Therefor Odessa Labyrinth is a place where a lot of myths and legends arise. It is also the only place where you will be completely immersed in the history of Odessa, including its hidden part.
Important information: It is very easy to get lost there, because of it all tourists are strongly recommended to enter Odessa Catacombs only in designated places and accomplishing with a guide. The average temperature in the Catacombs is about +14 degrees. While planning a tour, don’t forget to take some warm clothes and to put on comfortable shoes.