Moscow's Diggers of the Underground Planet
Once again, I've found proof that I don't know everything. (I'm sure you're as shocked as I am.) At first it was only an intriguing name: Diggers of the Underground Planet. But all it took was one google search to know I was on to something good . . . very good.
The Diggers are a group founded by eccentric Russian explorer Vadim Mikhailov (shown below). For the past few decades, they've had a single mission: Exploring the thousands of miles of tunnels underneath Moscow. That's right. The capitol of Russia has its own enormous Shadow City comprised of ancient passages, hidden rooms, sewer tunnels, underground rivers and subway lines. According to Mikhailov, in some parts of the city, the underground is more than 15 layers and 700 meters deep. And it's not empty. Thousands of homeless people, criminals, and vagabonds call the tunnels home--and those numbers tend to soar during the cruel Moscow winters.
Despite the ever-present dangers of toxic sludge and hoodlums, the Diggers have managed to make some jaw-dropping discoveries, including . . .
1. Over 500 pounds of radioactive material under Moscow State University.
2. A legendary underground pool that was used for mass suicides as far back as the eighteenth century.
3. Stalin's private subway system, which was built to carry important citizens out of Moscow in an emergency.
4. (According to one account) Tsar Ivan the Terrible's secret torture chamber.
But the biggest prize remains undiscovered: Ivan the Terrible's lost library, which is said to be hidden somewhere under the Kremlin and is filled with priceless Byzantine and Hebrew scrolls.
Read more about the Diggers and their discoveries here.