Underground Palace
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The Dark and Bizarre Tunnels of the Underground Palace
The Underground Palace is one of the strangest places I have ever visited. We stumbled upon it by chance while wandering along the west side of the wall around the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. Despite not knowing what it was, we bought tickets and went in. The first part was a very long hallway lined with old Chinese paintings under glass. We reached a fork and turned right, heading down more creepy tunnels with stone walls and old carpeting. Displayed along the hallway were relics collected by Xuanzang, a Buddhist monk who traveled the world in the seventh century. Everything was labeled in Chinese, including photos of mummies. There were only a few other people around, which is a very odd feeling in China. At the end of the tunnel was a shrine/temple. We doubled back and took the other tunnel. First, there were funhouse mirrors. This tunnel was even weirder and creepier than the others, because every 50 meters or so there was a little alcove. One alcove had an erotic exhibition that you had to pay to enter; we didn't go in. Another was dark, with mirrors. I got scared and my friend and I started screaming, and then the two other female tourists down here started screaming. What can I say? A dark tunnel with mirrors deep underground is really scary! Another alcove had what looked like a tombstone exhibition. There was a sign that said we were 1,370 meters below ground. I loved this, whatever it was. Definitely a must-visit.
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