Part of Montreal's underground city, a concourse in Bonaventure metro station, showing directional signs leading to buildings accessible through the underground city
An underground city is a network of underground tunnels that connect buildings, usually in the downtown area of a city. These may include office blocks, shopping malls, train and metro stations, theatres, and other attractions. An underground city can usually be accessed through the public space of any of the buildings connecting to it, and sometimes has separate entries as well.
Underground cities are especially important in cities with cold climates, as they permit the downtown core to be enjoyed year round without regard to the weather.
Underground cities are similar in nature to skyway systems and may include some buildings linked by skyways or above-ground corridors rather than underground.
Countries with underground cities include:
- Sydney A series of underground shopping malls linking the city's main underground station Town Hall, to a main shopping area, Pitt Street Mall. The underground malls contain approximately 100 shops.
- Halifax (Downtown Halifax Link Pedway System) in which no point is more than 10 minutes casual walking distance from any other one.
- Montreal (la Ville souterraine) whose 32 kilometres of tunnels connect seven downtown metro stations, seven large hotels and many important office towers and malls on 41 city blocks (12 square kilometres), with smaller tunnel systems in other parts of the city linking other attractions to metro stations. About 2,000 shops and 40 cinemas line the passageways. Montreal is famous for its underground city and it is often visited by tourists, as well as by 500,000 Montrealers per day.
- Toronto (PATH), the world's largest underground shopping complex (according to the Guinness Book of World Records), comprises 27 kilometres of walkways and 1,200 shops linking many important buildings and attractions downtown to five TTC subway stations. The PATH accommodates 100,000 pedestrians daily, and PATH businesses host the world's largest underground sidewalk sale once annually. PATH homepage (http://www.city.toronto.on.ca/path/index.htm)
- Beijing built during the Sino-Soviet conflict supposedly covering 85 square km, falling into disuse in the 1970s. Now recently opened to the public and tourists. There are rumours saying it was used by the army during the Tiananmen incident. link 1 (http://www.drben.net/TheChinaReporter/Beijing/Landmarks-Hotspots/ChongWen/UndergroundCity/UndergrCity.html) link 2 (http://www.chinapage.com/friend/goh/beijing/underground/underground.html)
- Helsinki covering central railway station area, two subway stations (Rautatientori, Kaisaniemi) and shopping malls. Also in two other subway stations have undergrounds like this, like Hakaniemi and Sörnäinen.
Many MTR (metro) and suburban commuter train stations in Hong Kong houses lots of shops, either underground or elevated.
- Osaka has enormous underground networks in the Umeda, Namba, and Shinsaibashi districts, which include retail shopping, restaurants, and subway and intercity rail stations.
- Tokyo has extensive underground networks around major railway stations such as Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Ueno, Tokyo, and Shibuya, and several subway stations linked with each other. It is possible to walk several kilometers underground. In addition, there are persistent rumours of unused tunnels linked to the metropolitain subway system, amounting to several tens of kilometers. Though it dwarfs Montreal's Ville Souterraine, Tokyo's network of tunnels is not seen as a tourist attraction; rather it is seen as one of the many megalopolis features of the city.
- Taipei 地下街 (underground streets connecting two or more metro stations)
- Cappadocia contains several historical underground cities, carved out of unusual geological formations, largely used by early Christians as hiding places. They are now archeological and tourist sites, but are not generally occupied.
- Atlanta, Georgia - Atlanta’s “Underground” actually represents the original surface level of downtown Atlanta; the present streets are in fact raised roadways (viaducts) built in the 1920s. The shopping center Underground Atlanta, taking advantage of the former street-level storefronts, covers six city blocks, and includes retail shopping and restaurants. It was begun in 1968, and re-opened in 1989 after a financially-forced closure. Underground Atlanta homepage (http://www.underground-atlanta.com/)
- Chicago, Illinois - (Pedway) consists of approximately 4 disjoint tunnel systems, the largest covering about 10 blocks, connecting such buildings and transit stations as Metra's Randolph Street Station, the Chicago Cultural Center, Marshall Field's flagship store at State and Randolph, Chicago Transit Authority's State Street and Dearborn Street subway stations, City Hall, and the State of Illinois (James R Thompson) Center. Pedway Map (http://tmusa.home.mindspring.com/pedway/)
- Havre, Montana - Throughout its history, the Havre Underground has been host to a brothel, a Chinese laundromat, a saloon, a drugstore, at least three opium dens, and rooms used for smuggling alcohol during Prohibition. It is now a preserved piece of the region's history.
- Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota - The (Gopher Way) on the University of Minnesota campus connects most classroom buildings, though the system is convoluted and comprised of several disconnected islands. The system also uses a number of skyway links, sometimes requiring individuals to go as high as the 5th floor to go between buildings. Minneapolis map (http://www1.umn.edu/pts/maps/teb.htm), St. Paul map (http://www1.umn.edu/pts/maps/tstp.htm) Addtionally, the downtowns of both cities have primarily above ground connections between builidings.
- Duluth, Minnesota has a small network of skyways and tunnels connecting some buildings, including the Federal Courthouse and Convention Center (DECC).
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - There are two connected underground concourses around Suburban Station and Market East Station in Center City, both of which host a number of businesses, and are connected to SEPTA transit lines.
- Rochester, Minnesota - The Mayo Clinic's various buildings in the downtown area are interconnected with tunnels and skyways. Various other businesses also exist along the corridors, including a number of hotels that often house clinic patients. It is often called a subway, although there are no underground rails in the city.