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Report - The Drains of Kiev, Ukraine, May 2012

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by Darmon_Richter, Jul 15, 2012.

  1. Darmon_Richter

    Darmon_Richter 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Dec 22, 2011
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    On a recent trip to Kiev, I was lucky enough to get the guided tour of the city's underground network of drains.

    The drains that lie closest to the surface are mostly built from concrete, many installed during the Soviet era as a back-up water supply for the city. However, deeper under the ground these tunnels meet a much older network of shafts and caves, some of which date back to mining operations in the mid-19th century.

    We entered the tunnels through a hatch hidden in some bushes. From here the first set of tunnels stretched in both directions, trapezoid in shape and roughly five feet high. We followed the shallow water upstream... eventually reaching a ladder to a higher level. Here the water cascaded down in heavy torrents, and we were forced to climb up through the waterfall to get to the next level.

    Another long tunnel, this time more rock than concrete, and dotted with stalactites and fungus. Following our guide, and being careful to ignore the many turnings that led off into the darkness, we eventually got to a large open shaft. Up above us we could see the slats of a manhole cover, a good four or five stories high. This apparently, was the central square in the middle of Kiev's CBD.

    From the number of turnings we passed along the way, the network seemed to be massive. We decided to explore a little deeper into the drains, and so following the stream through a long, mineral-encrusted tunnel we finally reached an opening - where the drain suddenly poured out over a massive drop. We had to climb though, carefully reaching for a nearby iron framework, and descending down four flights of rusty ladders to the bottom.

    After a brisk walk along a smooth concrete tube, our guide stopped us at a tiny side turning - here the newer tunnel crossed the path of one of the much older mine shafts, and he led us, on our hands and knees, into the darkness. This new tunnel started off small, but it got much smaller still! Towards the end the tunnel got so small that I was forced to drag myself along by my elbows... the water sometimes splashing up high enough to hit my face. I found myself wondering how much further it could be, and praying we wouldn't meet a flash flood!

    After what seemed like an eternity though, we reached a new section of the drains, with a nice high concrete roof. A few minutes later, and after something like five hours under the ground, we finally clambered back into the sunlight... bruised, disorientated, and soaked to the skin. Still, nothing that couldn't be cured with a good, strong Ukrainian beer.

    For more photos check out the full report on The Bohemian Blog: Urban Exploration in Ukraine: Deep in the Drains of Kiev














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