Underground Helsinki. The Clone City With Kilometers Of Tunnels And Areas Where You Can Have Fun Or Take Refuge.

Think for a second about an apocalyptic, dystopian, catastrophic scenario. What comes to mind? An atomic bomb, a hurricane, a violent earthquake? There are many such situations that we can fantasize about, and that literary and cinematographic works have surely helped, over the years, to create the right images and stories.

In the unfortunate event that one of these terrible events does happen for real, there is a city that does not intend to go away. We are talking about Helsinki, the Finnish capital, which is building a true replica of itself … underground. Since the days of the Cold War, the Finns have started to dig for more than just bunkers, but miles and miles of environments and tunnels where nothing is lacking to survive, from places to lodge to places for s ‘have fun. Ready to explore this city within the city?


image credit: Underground Helsinki

It all started in the 1960s, in the midst of the Cold War, when the Finnish capital approved a vast and ambitious project that planned to reproduce urban spaces underground. So work began, and over the years Helsinki has become the only city in the world to have an underground town plan .


image credit: Matthew Duncan/Wikimedia

Power lines, sewers, air filtration systems  in the space of a few decades, under houses and streets overlooking the Gulf of Finland, what is probably the largest bomb shelter in existence has come to life. although it would be reductive to label it that way and that is not how the designers want to define it.


image credit: Underground Helsinki

Although the project was officially justified by the authorities as being necessary to decongest traffic , over time there has been growing talk of a clear intention to protect citizens from possible threats. The biggest ? Certainly those from Russia , a country with which Finland shares more than 1,300 km of border and with which, in the past, there has been friction.


image credit: Underground Helsinki

The fear of a possible atomic attack by the eastern superpower would have accelerated the work until today. Over the actual scope of the project, however, there is a partial halo of mystery. What is certain is that this cloned city located between 20 and 80 meters deep can accommodate more than 600,000 people , with all the facilities necessary for their survival and their leisure.


image credit: ABC News/Youtube

Swimming pools, sports halls, churches, shops and restaurants, libraries, museums, car-friendly roads and tunnels, and much more. All this is protected by a thick layer of granite rock , which was not easy to dig but which makes these places impenetrable .


image credit: ABC News/Youtube

“If a bomb falls outside, you won’t notice anything here,” said an official involved in the work. And indeed, the structures and shelters built under Helsinki – less than a third of which are now accessible to the public – seem to catapult us into a post-apocalyptic scenario .


image credit: ABC News/Youtube

For now, however, Helsinki’s basements are seen as an innovative and original attraction, allowing the development of unusual and sheltered collective environments, attracting many visitors as well. For example, visiting a church like Temppeliaukio, swimming in a swimming pool, or going karting tens of meters underground can be very impressive. But it is a fact here, and the immense network of tunnels continues to expand.

We can only hope that it will continue to be used for recreation and not as a refuge for a long time to come. Did you know this particularity of Helsinki?

Source used:
Underground Helsinki

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