What the Eiffel Tower and Trafalgar Square hide
Many tourist attractions still have secrets: these buildings often contain hidden rooms and secret passages that most visitors are not even aware of. “Around the World” tells about some of them.
Railway Platform 61 in New York
Until recently, there was a secret railway platform 61 under the famous New York Waldorf Astoria Hotel (pictured).
She was used only once – to escort American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and other high-ranking officials to a hotel. For decades, no one used the station, although the railway tracks, the carriage and the private elevator under the building have survived to this day.
Secret rooms of the Doge's Palace in Venice
This Venetian palace has many secret rooms and corridors that tourists are unaware of. However, recently they had the opportunity to look at the life of the palace from the inside, visiting the office, secret archives, the torture room and Casanova's prison cell. Many of these rooms were unknown even to the inhabitants of Venice for centuries.
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The Chamber of Secrets in Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Located in South Dakota, Mount Rushmore is world famous for its rock-cut portraits of four American presidents. But few people know that behind the head of Abraham Lincoln, the sculptor Gutzon Borglum made a secret room. As conceived by the creator, it should have contained the most important documents for the history of the United States. Work on the creation of the premises was completed only in the 1990s, the room is still not available for tourists.
The premises of Ballyhack Castle in Wexford
Ballyhack Castle, built by the Hospitallers in the 15th century, does not impress with its external beauty and looks more like a rectangular tower.
The walls of the building are double, which was done not only for greater strength of the structure, but also for the location between them of many secret rooms and doors. The castle also has machicules and other defensive fortifications that visitors can see with their own eyes, as well as a steep staircase, a chapel and a “killer hole”.
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Secret Rooms in the Kitaigorod Wall in Moscow
In 2017, in Moscow, while preparing trenches for communications in the area of Lubyanskaya and Novaya squares, archaeologists managed to find five secret rooms in the Kitaigorod wall. Presumably, they were created so that the defenders of the city could listen to the negotiations in the camp of the enemy on the other side of the wall. In addition, they could be used to make sorties and quietly observe the actions of the enemy.
Sally Hemings Room at Monticello Estate
During the archaeological restoration of the estate of US founding father Thomas Jefferson in Monticello (pictured), experts discovered a room in the south wing of the building, which was in close proximity to his bedroom. Some experts believe that the slave Sally Hemings lived in it. Most historians agree that she gave birth to Jefferson several children – according to the results of DNA analysis, Jefferson turned out to be the father of at least one of the eight Hemings children. The room has become part of the museum.
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Michelangelo's Room in the Medici Chapel
During the restoration work that was carried out in the Medici chapel in Florence in 1975, the director of the museum located in the building, Paolo dal Poggetto, found a hatch under the cabinet in the sacristy. He led to an oblong room measuring about 7 by 2 m. It is believed that in the 16th century Michelangelo Buonarroti hid in this room from the wrath of the Medici for several months. He left charcoal and chalk drawings on the walls (pictured), resembling his other works.
Trafalgar Square police station in London
At the south end of Trafalgar Square is the smallest police station in London. It is located at the base of a lamppost, so many tourists do not notice it. This post appeared around the 1930s, when the authorities needed to move a police box somewhere near the Charing Cross metro station. The post at the lamppost was designed for one policeman, who could at any time contact Scotland Yard by phone. Now this room is used to store brooms.
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Apartment on the Eiffel Tower in Paris
The creator of the famous symbol of Paris, Gustave Eiffel, arranged for himself a small apartment at the top of the tower. It is located on the third level of the attraction, and its furnishings will seem modest to modern tourists. However, when the tower first appeared, the apartment became the envy of the Parisian elite. Eiffel refused to rent it out, despite numerous offers, and received guests in the apartment, including Thomas Edison.
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The Ballroom at Melbourne's Flinders Street Station
Many travelers are unaware that Melbourne's famous train station houses an abandoned ballroom. Throughout the 20th century, it was used not only for dancing, but also as a lecture and sports hall and library.
Since 1985, the room has been closed to the public, although the city authorities are going to restore it and return it to the city's residents.< /p>
Photo: Getty Images, Wikimedia Commons, SIME/LEGION-MEDIA, Olha Karpovych/Alamy/Legion Media
Published July 2019, partially updated in April 2023