Visited the famous caves beneath Sint Pietersberg Hill in Maastricht, NL. Their brochure advertised “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” I didn’t think much of it until I went inside. It is really really dark in there!! I stayed close to the tour guide who was holding a lantern. Even only a few feet away and you are engulfed by darkness…pushed away anyone who tried to claim my special spot behind the guide. 😛
Anyways, the caves were huge! They’re man-made. Apparently, the Romans started building them around 1st century AD and the construction continued until the 1900’s. The result is 20,000 tunnels extending over 80 hectares (8.6M sq ft or 800k sqm). Crazy big, isn’t it? The caves were cut from limestone, which is softer than other stones but they still had to cut through parts of flintstone (Yaba Daba doo~ hehe. No, this is the real type of hard stone that is from animal remains) but either way, it was no easy task. The caves are approx 8m or 26ft high, so they would have taken a long long time to cut through with the manual saws.
During the WWII, the Dutch used the caves as protection even installing bakeries, chapels, water pumps, lighting system, etc within the caves. It was planned for 47,000 people of Maastricht. In 1942, they even built a vault to store over 800 original paintings and to hide some people from the German forces.
Overall, it was an interesting tour. A short history lesson about the Dutch’s cutural-historical monument and a glimpse of how life was during the WWII. The caves are dark, cold (5-10 degrees) and humid..not a pleasant long-term stay by any means. I was ready to get out after the 1hr walk..brrrrr.
For more info: http://www.maastrichtunderground.nl/en/index2.html