That mound in the park is actually a bomb shelter

Most of the city's bomb shelters were built during the 1960s and 1970s under the admonition of Chairman Mao Zedong to “dig deep and store grain.” 

The 1970s bomb shelter found under an artificial hill in Penglai Park yesterday is closed off.

A large abandoned bomb shelter built in the 1970s has been rediscovered beneath a park in downtown Huangpu District.

Officials said on Monday that the underground shelter covering 1,600 square meters was hidden beneath an artificial hill in Penglai Park on 380 Nanchezhan Road, said Wang Shirui, director with the engineering management department of the district’s civil defense office.

“The shelter’s iron supportive pillars are rusty, while the concrete structures have also been damaged,” Wang said. Workers are filling the site up with foam concrete to prevent land subsidence and the shelter caving in, he added.

Shanghai has a total of over 700,000 square meters of abandoned bomb shelters honeycombed across the city.

Most of them were built during the 1960s and 1970s under the admonition of Chairman Mao Zedong to “dig deep and store grain” and also as a defense against foreign invaders.

“I can still remember my family donated 20 bricks to build the underground shelter beneath Penglai Park in the 1970s,” a senior resident living in a nearby community said.


Engineers firstly detected the underground shelter via CT technology. The entrance and exit have long disappeared, Wang said. An excavator dug out a hole beneath the stone hill over the weekend to allow engineers to enter the shelter.

“Toxic gases including hydrogen sulphide and marsh gas have accumulated in the sealed space with many insects living inside,” said Bian Jiajun, an engineer with the office who was the first to jump into the newly found shelter and explore its contents.

The shelter will be fully filled within a month, Wang told Shanghai Daily.

Penglai Park was built in October 1953 on the former campus site of a university that was destroyed during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-1945). The abandoned shelter was hidden beneath the southwest corner of the park.

Huangpu alone has 582 abandoned civil defense shelters covering 100,000 square meters, or a seventh of the city’s total. The district government plans to fill up some of them, while converting the better preserved shelters into activity centers, cafes and wine cellars by the end of 2018.

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