The Mystery of the Czech Jihlava Dungeons: Who dug these catacombs, and why today many people are afraid to go down into them
Receive one of our most-read articles in your inbox once a day. Join us on Facebook and VKontakte.
There is a beautiful town Jihlava in the southeast of the Czech Republic. It is literally stuffed with sights – there are most beautiful churches, and the famous town hall and the Gates of Our Lady. But the thing that attracts the most interest from tourists is a mysterious place filled with lots of rumors and legends. These are the catacombs, dug many centuries ago, which pass through the entire city. Many of the visitors claim that incomprehensible phenomena happen in the dungeon.
The mysterious history of the catacombs
In the 1270s, silver ores were discovered in this part of Bohemia. Silver miners flocked to the area and a town was built next to the mines on the orders of King Otakar II. It soon became one of the biggest and richest towns of Bohemia with well-developed craft and trade. After a couple of hundred years, deposits of silver depleted and the “silver fever” in the city came to naught. It is known that by the 18th and 19th centuries, Jihlava was repopulated by the Germans, but soon it was taken over again by the Czechs.
Exactly when the first catacombs under the city appeared has not been established. The latest version is that they were dug at the turn of the XIII-XIV centuries.
Most likely, the rich and prosperous city needed large warehouses for storing food. According to historians, barrels of beer and wine were hidden in the catacombs, fruits and vegetables were kept there, and some rooms even served as workshops, in which artisans worked.
Underground corridors, dug at a depth of 12 meters, stretch for 25 kilometers and go through the entire city.
During World War II, local residents used these catacombs as bomb shelters, although the Germans occupying the city and tried to close most of them for their own safety, because they have also mastered these underground passages.
Since the second half of the last century the Jihlava Dungeon attraction has been accessible to tourists. Visitors can explore several kilometers of underground corridors, which were previously reinforced with concrete to ensure reliability and prevent collapse.
Every half hour tour groups leave from the main entrance to the catacombs, located in the courtyard of St. Ignatius Church. For added mystery, workers of the “underground museum” at some point turn off light to visitors. Fortunately, only for a while. Add to the mystery and moving lights.
The Jihlava Catacombs have been the subject of unbelievable rumors for decades. These legends are passed from mouth to mouth.
The legend of the ghosts
As people occasionally died under the rubble during the construction and subsequent expansion of the catacombs several centuries ago, rumors of ghosts roaming the underground labyrinth still circulate among the local population.
Some say they are the souls of the dead, others say they are terrifying vampires. And although there is not a single person who has actually seen these ghosts, especially impressionable natures still believe in them.
The Legend of the Young Organist
Some visitors to the catacombs claim to have distinctly heard the sounds of an organ in the tunnels. The testimony of archaeologists who worked in the catacombs in the 1990s added fuel to the fire. Then the entire expedition said they heard the organ music in one of the underground corridors. Since the mass insanity experts who have studied their testimonies, ruled out at once, and to take the organ at 10 meter depth was nowhere, no one has not understood what exactly heard the archaeologists.
But the townspeople have immediately found an explanation for these sounds. According to an urban legend, five centuries ago there was a young man, who played the organ beautifully and masterfully. He made such unearthly sounds on the instrument that the inquisitors thought his talent was a “gift” from evil spirits. The musician was immured alive in one of the underground corridors, and now the spirit of the dead man allegedly continues to play the organ as he wanders the labyrinths.
The Legend of the Strange Glow
The most mysterious attraction of the Jihlava dungeons is considered to be the glowing corridor. This phenomenon was first discovered in the catacombs by amateur speleologists in 1990. This short section of the path emits a greenish glow even when the power is off.
For a long time, the cause of this glow was thought to be mystical forces, but later analysis of the floor and wall coating showed that it contains phosphorescent substances. Another corridor – which is rumored to glow even brighter than the first – was found under the city library, but tourists are not yet allowed into this place. It is in this room, according to some reports, during the war the Nazis set up barracks for soldiers.
One of the staircase glows in the catacombs, but the reason for its glow has not yet been established. By the way, the color of its glow is not greenish, but red-orange.
One of the legends says that in this place during the Second World War some kind of scientific experiments were conducted by the Nazi researchers. Chemical analysis of the coating of one of the glowing corridors, conducted by Czech experts, showed the presence in its coating of a mixture of barite and wurzite (luminophore, which accumulates energy and gives glow). And since part of the premises during the war was occupied by the German anti-aircraft forces, the Nazis could well use it as illumination or indeed experiment with the application of some luminous information signs.
But the history of the underground labyrinth in Armenia does not conceal any mysticism. It was built by an ordinary farmer. However, the way he was able to make such a masterpiece is already surprising in itself.
Catacombs of Jihlava: Strange Sounds, Ghosts and Glowing Stairs
Jihlava Catacombs are mysterious and legendary underground structures located near the town of Jihlava in South Moravia, Czech Republic. The town of Jihlava was founded by German colonists in the thirteenth century.
For centuries the inhabitants have linked the midnight sound of an organ, ghosts and other supernatural phenomena in one of the corridors of the medieval underground passages with the mysterious power of the catacombs. Researchers who previously dismissed as “unscientific” the ancient legends of the mysterious dungeons, are forced to pay attention to new and new reliable testimony.
One of the versions claims that the Jihlava catacombs date back to the era of German colonists who mined silver mines, the other claims that they were dug out by the inhabitants of the town as a hiding place during the fires and wars. Enemies who entered Jihlava would find the town deserted, as all the inhabitants hid in the underground city.
A network of underground corridors covering more than 5 hectares stretched for 25 kilometers in length and 12 meters in depth. The first of the three floors of the catacombs stored supplies of water and food, which allowed people to hide underground for a very long time and come to the surface at night, attacking enemies unawares.
When the catacombs were being built, miners often died under the cave-ins, and who knows how many of them were buried alive under Jihlava. In the middle of the last century, the catacombs collapsed so much that some of the city streets simply began to fall through, then part of the walls were reinforced with concrete.
In the summer of 1996, an archeological expedition worked in Jihlava and concluded that the catacombs hide secrets which science cannot unravel. The scientists testified that on several occasions the sounds of an organ could be heard clearly in the place mentioned in legends.
The underground passage where this happened is 10 meters deep and there is no room near it, as they have accurately determined, where such an instrument could be located, so the possibility of accidental error is excluded. Psychologists who examined the eyewitnesses reject the possibility of mass auditory hallucination.
The locals explain what happened in their own way. There is a legend of a brilliant young organist who lived in Jihlava in the 15th century. The Inquisition attributed his impressive talent to a deal with the Devil, and as a result the talented musician was entombed alive in one of the dungeons. It is believed that the sad organ music can be heard every year on the day of the organist’s death.
The main sensation of the expedition in 1996 was the discovery of the “glowing staircase” in one of the least surveyed underground passages, the existence of which was unknown even to local residents. A stone staircase made in the early Middle Ages was found there, which gave off a bright light in the darkness.
Material samples taken have not confirmed the presence of phosphorus. According to eyewitnesses, at first glance the staircase is unimpressive – nothing special – but gradually it begins to emit an intensifying reddish-orange light. Even if you turn off the lantern, the glow of the stairs does not cease, its intensity does not decrease (report ITAR-TASS 4.11.1996).
There is also an opinion that the Jihlava catacombs are not as uninhabited as originally thought. One of the local old-timers assured the expedition that his grandfather, here in South Moravia, encountered a real vampire and only a miracle helped him to escape from the pursuer. Perhaps there, deep underground, in some undiscovered dungeon, something intelligent still dwells.
The mysteries of the Yiglav dungeons await their explorers, who have yet to unravel the mystery. No new scientific exploration of the dungeons has yet been reported.