By Gabrielle Beacken
Nation & World Editor
There is a legend that during World War II, Hitler ordered the construction of a secret underground city that would be filled with gold, gems and jewels. As the Soviet Army progressed in the last days of the war, it is rumored that a Nazi train, filled with treasure, was left behind in the underground works.
According to the New York Times, two explorers, Piotr Koper and Andreas Richter, have claimed to have found this enigmatic train in early September, while more recently, a third explorer, Krzysztof Szpakowski, has claimed to have found the complex of underground tunnels. The tunnels are allegedly a part of Hitler’s “Project Riese,” meaning “Project Giant,” where Nazis were supposed to seek security if there were to ever be a nuclear attack, reported the Guardian.
Thousands of people have traveled to the Owl Mountains in Walbrzych County, Poland, where the treasure and tunnels allegedly reside, reported the Times. Over 100 media outlets from around the globe have taken residence and filled the popular tourist-attraction, Ksiaz Castle. The Castle lies only four miles from the alleged underground city.
Old cemeteries, battle grounds and various archaeological sites near the supposed underground city have been vandalized, said Barbara Nowak-Obelinda, the conservator of monuments in Lower Silesia, reported the Times.
Local officials have reported that a 35-year-old man fell and died in Walbryzch when he tried to break into the tomb of a German owner of a Silesian textile empire that was rumored to be filled with treasures, the Times said.
Owl Mountains has not been considered a popular tourist spot in Poland, despite its picturesque views, yet this new discovery puts the city “back on the map,” according to the Times.
“If the city wanted to pay for this kind of primetime advertising, we estimate that we would have to spend 100 million zloty ($26 million),” said Anna Zabska, director of the Old Mine Science and Art Museum, reported the Times. The museum has taken advantage of the flood of explorers by selling T-shirts, mugs and other small gifts with the image of the “gold train.”
Verification of the tunnels is “months away,” said the Times. In the meantime, Polish soldiers are heavily guarding the area.
“The thaw for unearthing the secrets of our region has begun,” said Krzysztof Kwiatkowski, governor of Walbrzych County, reported the Times.