Top 4 Underground Societies around the World

You probably remember how the Ninja Turtles had a “real” home underground, in the pipes of the city sanitation. Yes, it was a cartoon and no human being would be ever able to endure those conditions but, don’t be so sure. There are Underground societies that exist below the streets, full of people living an unconventional and mostly hazardous lifestyle. Some are down there by choice, while others have no other option but to be there. These people found a home beneath the Earth’s surface, and society remains largely unaware of the people right under their feet.

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1 Bucharest, Romania

Below the streets of Romania’s capital there is a network of tunnels providing shelter for a group of drug-addicted, HIV-infected kids and teenagers. Their leader or as they see him – a father figure, refers to himself as “Bruce Lee” and takes in the lowest of the low. He has dedicated his life to keeping his self-sufficient family safe and as warm as possible, even if that means giving them a safe space to do drugs.

The teens can often be seen huffing metallic paint out of black bags called Aurolac. People who have been invited to see this underground society describe it as a type of parallel universe, a world of abandoned children and addicted teenagers, rescued dogs and cats, full electricity, a stereo system that plays nonstop club music, televisions, and even artificial grass.

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Citizens of Bucharest are aware of what’s going on beneath their feet, and many of them praise Bruce Lee’s actions. After the 1966 ban on contraception and abortion by former Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu in an effort to increase the workforce, unwanted and orphaned children were left on the streets. Bruce Lee has not only moved these tragic youths off the streets, he’s provided a safe place for them otherwise would otherwise freeze in the brutal temperatures or fall victim to sexual predators.

Bucharest, Romania

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2 Yanan, China

Thanks to the permeable soil of the Loess Plateau in Yan’an, China, more than 30 million Chinese farmers have turned to cave-dwelling for sustainable living and agriculture. While the more elaborate caves are fortified with brick masonry and sport high ceilings and front yards, standard caves (called yaodongs) are composed of vaulted rooms dug into the side of a mountain.

They have entrances draped in rice paper and quilts, and their walls are plastered white with lime and decorated with paintings and magazine clippings. This style of living is energy-efficient, cost-effective, and a monument to a long history of Chinese cave-dwelling. For over two millenniums, the Chinese people have adopted this lifestyle, from the earliest primitive caves of the Zhou Dynasty to the more evolved subterranean caves of the Qin and Han eras. Many caves are inherited property, passed down from one generation to the next.

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Yanan, China

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3 Paris, France

Also known as the Empire of the Dead, the catacombs in Paris are an impressive underground cemetery that spread for 320 kilometers. The catacombs are the eternal resting place for more than six million people. During a training exercise beneath Palais de Chaillot, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, Paris police stumbled across the headquarters of a secret society that was fully equipped with electricity, phone lines, and even restaurants and movie theaters. The ceilings down there was painted with swastikas, Celtic crosses, and stars of David. This underground organization secretly improves parts of Paris that are neglected by the French government.

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Paris, France

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4 Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Under the neon lights, casinos, and endless hordes of tourists that are walking on the streets of Las Vegas, there are 320 kilometers of flood tunnels that 1,000 people call home. Individual rooms are 37 square meters and furnished with double beds, wardrobes, showers, paintings, and bookshelves, all lifted off the floor with concrete slabs so they can withstand the tunnel’s constant flooding. Scraps of carpet are laid out to make the place feel homier, and the whole tunnel system is like one big art gallery, covered in complex graffiti.

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According to those who have interacted with the tunnel residents, many are recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder. They have sought solace in building a community beneath the streets of one of the United States’ most restless cities. Unfortunately, life beneath the streets takes isn’t easy at all. Depression, addiction, and hopelessness is a way of life. The residents spend a majority of their time in damp and flooded conditions, having to constantly move their homes from space to space to avoid as much water damage as possible. Many of these underground residents search the casinos for leftover money, and if they find any, they usually spend it on drugs.

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

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