Think about it! All over the world, there
are places swarming with dark secrets, forbidden passages, and hidden rooms. Few people are
aware of the existence of these places, but occasionally, someone will accidentally fall
across a sealed door or locked room, and the mystery is unraveled. Let’s have a look at
some of the most exciting discoveries! Approximately 60 miles (97 km) away from London,
there is a beautiful old palace. In 1874, future British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
was born within its walls, and even before that, the palace was the home of the Duke
and Duchess of Malborough. But the story we’re interested in began in
1708 when architect Sir John Vanbrugh started to carry out his plan to build a “habitable
viaduct” near the palace. The Grand Bridge (which was the name of the new construction)
was finished in 1710, and… it impressed nobody. Vanbrugh’s idea was announced to be
too expensive and extravagant, and the man had to leave Blenheim.
Thankfully, that’s not the end of the story. In 1768, the insides of the abandoned bridge
got flooded, but not as a result of foul weather. It was a landscape design project by the famous
architect and gardener Lancelot “Capability” Brown (yes, that was his name), and according
to his plan, the grounds were filled with several lakes. Nobody had seen inside the
bridge since then… until very recently! The thing is that lately, two of the lakes,
the Queen Pool and the Great Lake, have been steadily drying out. Experts were worried
that if the lakes were to run completely dry, the bridge would become unstable. But that
wasn’t the only problem that had to be solved; to restore the original depth of the lakes,
the workers would have to remove more than 400,000 tons (360,000 tonnes) of silt build-up!
But not so long ago, in October 2018, the decision was made to restore the Grand Bridge.
Undaunted by the $15-million reconstruction cost, work began to bring back one of the
most beautiful views in England to life. But little did the experts know, they were about
to make some startling discoveries. First of all, the engineers constructed a
labyrinth of dams, siphons, and groundwater wells, and as soon as the water level dropped
by 6.5 ft (2 m), a shocking truth was revealed. It turned out that the bridge housed more
than 30 rooms, and plaster on the walls indicated that people may have lived there in the early
18th century. With the help of a full internal 3D survey,
the scientists were able to explore the eerie place. They discovered stairways and fireplaces,
chimneys and strange chambers without windows, graffiti which dated back to the 1760s and
broken and sunken boats used in the 1950s for reed cutting.
The whole dredging project is supposed to last a couple of years, but the restoration
of the Grand Bridge will most likely take much longer. Well, according to Head of Estates at Blenheim,
Roy Cox, this is one of the most ambitious restoration projects they have ever attempted
in the UK. But if you believe that Britain is the only place that hides secret passages
and mysterious rooms, think again! The astonishing truth is that a lot of famous sights and even
major tourist attractions have their own secrets! The New Yorker Hotel in, well, New York is
home to countless untold secrets, such as a mysterious Art Deco tunnel. This tunnel,
safely concealed under 34th Street, goes from the hotel’s lobby all the way to Penn station. Charing Cross Road is one of the busiest roads
in London, with never-ending traffic and hordes of hurrying people and wandering tourists.
But if one day you’re walking along this street, find the traffic island situated in the middle
of this road. When you glance down through the metal grate, you’ll be astonished to see
that there is a Victorian street name on the wall below ground level. Wait; what? How is
it even possible? Not many people, including locals, know this
secret, but underneath the present-day streets of London, there is an old, abandoned street
called Little Compton. It’s one of the few things left that still remains of old London. And since we’re speaking about hidden streets,
rooms, and passages, we mustn’t miss the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. There, you will find
a mysterious corridor filled with priceless pieces of art. This 3,300-ft-long passage
(1 km) connects the gallery with Pitti palace and dates back to the 15th century. When this
corridor was built, workers had to cut it through different stores and even people’s
homes. Interestingly, butchers had to abandon their
businesses which later were replaced with jewelry boutiques. It was believed that this
way, tourists wouldn’t suffer from foul smells and would have better views. One of the busiest railway stations in Melbourne,
Australia, is Flinders Street Station. It serves more than a hundred thousand commuters
every single day! What most of these people don’t know is that an old ballroom hides on
the station’s third floor and is rarely open to visitors.
On the other hand, if you’re lucky enough to get a “Golden Ticket,” which are randomly
tucked into several tourist programs, you’ll have a chance! Unfortunately, you can get
such an exclusive entry only on special occasions. Who would think that underneath the elegant
Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, there is a secret railway station! It used to be a
wartime escape route. President Franklin D. Roosevelt regularly used it when he needed
to get from one place to another without being spotted by the public. Stepping out of his
private railcar, the President got straight into an elevator that took him to the hotel. Meanwhile, did you know that at Mount Rushmore,
right behind Abraham Lincoln’s head, there is a tiny room, so small that it can barely
fit several visitors? It’s a bit challenging to get to this place on foot, but if you can,
you’ll find copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution. Rome is almost always crowded with people.
And while more than 4 million visitors come to see the Colosseum each year, very few know
that under this world-famous tourist attraction, there is a vast network of tunnels. Long ago,
they housed leopards, lions, elephants, panthers, and even giraffes to fight against gladiators.
The animals were raised to the arena with the help of a pulley system. More than 300,000 commuters go through Milan’s
central railway station, the Stazione Centrale, every single day. Most of them have no idea
that behind the closed doors they pass is the most lavish and exclusive room in the
whole building, Royal Pavilion. This is a special waiting room created in the 1920s
for the Italian royal family. Even though there’s no monarchy in Italy
nowadays, the waiting room still exists. It consists of two levels decorated with marble,
sculptures, and elegant furniture. On top of that, the royal waiting room has a balcony
with a view of the square. The New York Public Library is the third biggest
library in the world, and no wonder! After all, it consists of a whole network of locations
scattered all over the city. Also, it’s home to more than 50 million books and other items.
You may guess it takes a lot of people to keep such a huge system functioning. That’s
why hundreds of workers lived with their families in various secret rooms throughout the library.
Their main task was to look after furnaces. Most of these hidden rooms were later demolished,
but at least a dozen of them still remain in the library system. What comes to your mind when you think about
Paris? I would bet that it’s the Eiffel Tower! Despite this monument’s fame, few people
know that it hides a tiny secret. It’s a cozy little apartment near the top of the tower.
Gustave Eiffel, the creator of the magnificent construction, left this hidden nook for himself.
Like any other apartment of a wealthy Parisian, Eiffel’s home was furnished with old wooden
chairs and cabinets, a piano in the corner and oil paintings on the paisley wallpaper.
The engineer was extremely fond of his secret shelter and often had important meetings there.
After being closed for a long time, the apartment is now open for tourists. If you could visit one of these secret places,
what would be your pick? Write about your choice in the comment section below! Remember
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