Five months after the discovery of ancient tunnels beneath the city of Puebla, the centuries-old passageways are being opened as part of the Secretos de Puebla, or Secrets of Puebla, project.
Believed to be as many as 500 years old, the tunnels were originally constructed within the foundations of the city, possibly to provide underground passage between monasteries, or to function as a drainage system.
The tunnels are also rumored to have aided Mexican soldiers in their celebrated fight against French troops, which they won on May 5, 1862.
Located in Puebla’s historical center as well as on the fringe of the area known as Las Fuertes, the tunnels reach seven meters in height and 3.5 meters in width and extend for an estimated total of 10 kilometers in length.
The president of the State School of Civil Engineers, Ricardo Olea Ayala, believes that the tunnels were used as secret passageways between a network of monasteries, including Santo Domingo, San Agustín, La Merced and San Javier.
Sergio Vergara Bermejo, manager of the Historical and Heritage Center of Puebla, remarked that the discovery of Puebla’s tunnel network was the confirmation of a popular urban legend. He said, “We talked of the tunnels of Puebla, but nobody had seen them.”
Specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History will assist in the recovery of the remaining tunnels, but on February 17 the first recovered sections will be opened to the public. Secretos de Puebla will introduce about 2.5 kilometers of uncovered tunnels in addition to its other catalogued historical sites, including the Puente Bubos.
They are calling on visitors to create videos to recount their personal experience with the tunnels, stories of which have been passed down through generations.
Total restoration of the subterranean passageways, whose existence was confirmed last September, is expected to take 10 years.