20 Secret Passageways And Hidden Rooms Hiding In Plain Sight

History can be told in terms of secret passageways, hidden rooms and obscure tunnels. Wars have been won and lost by them, coup d’états sprung, and entire countries altered, thanks to a well-place nook or cranny. There are also plenty of modern-day uses, as you’ll see below — from drug smuggling tunnels from Tijuana to hidden doors that protect your most valuable chianti. Check out 20 of the best, below.

Top picture: Creative Home Engineering

Some of the oldest hidden passageways are found in the pyramids of Egypt. Below is the Cheops, the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis, and the gallery which leads upwards to the entrance to the burial chamber.

Picture: Library Of Congress/martin_vmorris

Here’s a centuries-old disguised entrance to a hidden reading room in the National Library in Vienna, Austria.

Picture: Lauren Pressley

The Củ Chi tunnels in Vietnam were used as hiding spots during combat. They also bore communication and supply routes, hospitals, food, weapon caches and living quarters for guerrilla fighters.

Picture: Jorge Láscar/Jorge Láscar

Another secret room at the former Ford Country Day School, a 2800sqm Tudor mansion in Los Altos Hills, California.

Picture: Kent Brewster

A hidden passageway leads to this bunker restaurant in Lviv, Ukraine. The restaurant is dedicated to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

Picture: Jennifer Boyer/Jennifer Boyer

Entrance to Underground Hezbollah Warehouse. On September 6, 2006, during an IDF operation in the central sector of southern Lebanon, Israeli soldiers found a Hezbollah bunker filled with weaponry and rocket launchers hidden under trees.

Picture: Israel defence Forces

This 200m tunnel, in Tijuana, Mexico, crossed the border beneath the US and Mexico, and was widely used by drug smugglers. Its entrance? The cabinet underneath a bathroom sink inside a warehouse in Tijuana. It was raided in 2012.

Picture: Alejandro Cossio/AP/US Immigration and Customs Enforcement/AP

There are plenty of modern passageways built for personal security, or simply just entertainment. This billiards room has a secret passageway created by Creative Home Engineering, a company that specialises in custom construction.

Picture: Creative Home Engineering

A bookcase that leads to a weapons storage room, also by CHE.

Picture: Creative Home Engineering

Bookshelves? No, that’s a disguised door.

Picture: Creative Home Engineering

The wood panelling makes for a perfect disguise for this hidden door.

Picture: Creative Home Engineering

Is that a stone wall? No, it is a stone door to a wine cellar.

Picture: Creative Home Engineering

A mirror that opens to a vault.

Picture: Creative Home Engineering

Just another stone wall? No, that’s another stone door.

Picture: Creative Home Engineering

There is a secret room under the stairs.

Picture: Creative Home Engineering

Yet another door hidden behind a wood panel.

Picture: Creative Home Engineering

A hidden garage in the bottom floor of a historic Victorian apartment on Oak Street in San Francisco’s Upper Haight district.

Picture: Beausoleil Architects

Inspired by library racks that also use this system, these rolling shelving units hide complete rooms.

Picture: Taylor and Miller Architecture

The Hidden Doors company made this, um, hidden door, which leads to a home gym.

Picture: Hidden Doors

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