Underground Project 131

Chinese name
131地下工程 (Yāosānyāo Dìxià Gōngchéng)
Recommended time for visit
8 hours (including to and from Xianning)
Take a bus from Wuhan to Xianning at Wuhan Fujiapo Long Distance Bus Terminal (付家坡客运站; 80 min; ¥20/¥30). Then take a taxi from Xianning Bus Station (no more than ¥70). The alternative is to take a train from Wuhan to Xianning North (43 trains daily; 25 min; ¥24.5/¥39.5); then hire a taxi to the project.

In the early ’70s when nuclear war seemed imminent, Mao commissioned a series of underground cities. (The most famous in Beijing was designed to hold the city’s entire population underground.) The underground city in Xianning was designed to protect key military and industrial leaders as well as a large portion of the Hubei population. Most of the Underground Project is closed to visitors because parts of the bunker have not been thoroughly inspected, but the parts that you can go into are worth a look, and in fact not all of the bunkers are military related. There are areas devoted for schools, living quarters and even restaurants and stores, providing a fascinating, if not dark look, at China’s early preparedness for nuclear war. Up top there is a grave for its chief supervisor, Huang Yongsheng and a Mao-era museum that features badges and other propaganda of the time.


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