Naours caves: an amazing underground city
Those caves are also known as muches: this word means “hiding place” in Picard!
Here we are 3 metres deep... Claustrophobics, refrain! And yet, more than 3 000 people used to live here for months, while wars were raging outside...
A safe shelter
We have here more than 300 rooms and about 30 galleries (1,30 metres high), used as a shelter by inhabitants from Naours.
Big rooms were used as a warehouse and housed animals, while “streets” were opened, lined with small bedrooms. Inhabitants left several graffiti, coins, dishes...
They laid out a vast room, used as a chapel with a stone altar.
They also dug a well with several air ducts.
In another part, there were stables: we found here rabbits, pigs, cows bones, but also dry manure!
The muches were mentioned for the first time in the 12th century. But maybe those galleries were older than that?
Far away for the turmoil...
Anyway, those undergrounds were mostly used during wars of Religion, especially during Amiens siege in 1597.
They also were useful in 1636, when Spanish invasions frightened all the area... In 1750, salt smugglers hid here!
But after several accidents and rock slide, undergrounds were closed at the beginning of the 19th century.
Parish priest, Mr. Danicourt, rediscovered them in 1887, because he needed stones to rebuild his church!
Danicourt didn’t want to damage these real treasures. He preserved it and tourists soon arrived.