Active + Adventure

How to Vacation Like Indiana Jones

by Douglas Wright

Catacombs of Odessa, Ukraine

The labyrinthine Catacombs of Odessa extend for at least 1,500 miles, but no one knows quite where they end. The common name for the site is a bit of a misnomer; it's not really a network of catacombs, because nobody was intentionally buried down there. The eerie underground passages were carved out by limestone miners in the 19th century for the construction of Odessa's stone buildings and later became a hideout for the Soviet resistance during World War II. Deep in the maze of tunnels, lit only by the occasional dangling lightbulb, there are skeleton bones from anonymous dead, carved cubbyholes with the remnants of rusted ammunition caches, and secret storerooms once used by underground smugglers. It's rumored that a model ship made of pure gold is hidden in there, too. Whatever you find, best leave it undisturbed. The locals believe the catacombs are watched over by a god who seeks revenge on anyone who steals from the limestone labyrinth.

Follow the right path: The only part of the catacombs officially open to the public is within the Museum of Partisan Glory, which showcases the history of the Soviet fighters along with WWII paraphernalia. The entrance is in Nerubayske, a village to the north of Odessa. But for the real deal, book a private tour of the unsanctioned sections of the catacombs with a group of professional researchers—the (take a breath) Research Institute of Geological and Environmental Monitoring and Forecasting—as your guide. And believe us, you'll need them.

Photo courtesy of Lost World.

Next: Go for gold in Ecuador >

previous | next
3 of 9 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | ... 9
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement, Privacy Policy, and Mobile Terms and Conditions.

iPhone App:

Create personalized postcards out of your favorite travel photos!

Learn More ›
Subscribe to our free RSS feeds:

Get the latest destinations picks, hot hotel lists, travel deals and blog posts automatically added to your newsreader or your personalized homepage.

Learn More ›


Special Advertisement

Contests, Sweepstakes & Promotions