Famous Secret Passageways Hidden Around The World

Famous Secret Passageways Hidden Around The World

The idea for hidden passages isn’t a new one. While modern passageways have a contemporary flair, thanks to advancements in technology and design, the concept has been around for thousands of years. 

Consider the secret passages below the famed Colosseum in Rome, the secret tunnels hidden away at the White House and Capitol Hill, and the now-closed tunnel system below the streets of Los Angeles that were used during the prohibition era as discreet “drinking dens.” Secret passageways are present in a number of famous buildings and landmarks, some of which may be surprising — most likely because they’re a secret.

While these famous passageways are reserved for only authorized users, it’s possible they may inspire others for the way they’re used, the way they’re laid out, or their level of security. Here’s a look at some of the more famous secret passageways around the world. 

Passetto di Borgo. This secret passageway was built to create a secret escape route for the reigning pope. Reports indicate it was first constructed in 850, expanded in 1277 and finally completed in 1492 just before a sitting pope had to utilize it to escape an advancing French military front. It connects The Vatican to Castel Sant’Angelo and it was needed a couple times before it fell into disrepair. In 2000, it was renovated and opened to visitors on a limited basis. 

Winchester Mystery House. Once home to the widow of the Winchester firearms magnate, the Winchester Mystery House is a California mansion with multiple secret rooms and passageways that have been revealed over time. With 160 rooms, 10,000 windows and two basements, the home is the definition of extravagant and has been described as having more secret passages “than Narnia.” According to Atlas Obscura, one secret passageway opens to 30 of the home’s rooms. Another is positioned in the home’s so-called seance room, which include one entryway and three exits. 

The Catacombs of Paris. Although the Eiffel Tower is home to its own secret apartment, which visitors can see from the outside, Paris is also home to a secret passageway of tunnels underground known as the Catacombs of Paris. The underground labyrinth, which used to be quarries, has been designated as the “Paris Municipal Ossuary,” now home to the skeletal remains of more than 6 million people. 

Forbidden City. The Forbidden City, in Beijing, is home to secret passages known as “tiger caves.” The ventilated and narrow passageways run underground and were utilized primarily by palace servants. The passages were also used to move construction materials and to provide temporary shelter, if need be. While visitors can’t access the passages, they are able to be seen from above.

To discover the possibilities available for modern hidden passageways, explore our portfolio of secret doors, custom created to meet the needs of each individual homeowner. 

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Creative Home Engineering, a Gilbert, Arizona-based company, is the global leader in designing and manufacturing secret doors. From swinging bookcases to sliding walls to rotating fireplaces and safe rooms, Creative Home Engineering has been an innovative leader in the field of hidden passageway design for more than 20 years. Learn more at www.hiddenpassageway.com.