Tunnels have been around for a very long period of time. The Roman Tunnels of Claudius in Italy were the longest tunnels in the world for thousands of years. But by the time those Roman tunnels were dug, there were already ancient Greek tunnels that had existed for hundreds of years.

The Tunnel of Eupalinos is regarded as one of the most remarkable of ancient Greek tunnels - and of ancient Greek engineering. The Greek Islands are a stunning piece of paradise in the Aegean Sea and while they are famous for the magical sunshine they are much more than that. They also have Akrotiri - an ancient volcanic-ash buried city much older than Pompeii.

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What To Know About The Tunnel Of Eupalinos

The Tunnel of Eupalinos is also called the "Eupalinian aqueduct" and runs through Mount Kastro in Samos, Greece. It is around 1,036 meters or 3,399 feet in length and was built in the 6th century BC. While the longest tunnels today extend for around 57 kilometers, this was the first time in history that mankind had attempted a project of such magnitude.

  • Length: 1,036 Meters or 3,399 Feet
  • Built: In The 6th Century BC
  • Location: Through Mount Kastro On Samos, Greece
  • Type: Aqueduct

Like many ancient tunnels, its purpose was to be an aqueduct. The tunnel was built to supply water from the Agiades Spring to the city of Samos (also called Pythegoreion).

The tunnel was well used and has set a very high bar for any modern tunnel. It was used for over 1,100 years into the 7th century AD (all through the Roman period and into the Byzantine period). It was then used as a refuge for the locals offering a unique sort of protection against pirate invasions that came to plague the area.

At this time, fortressing walls were built inside the tunnel just after its south entrance portal.

The first historian to make enthusiastic references to the tunnel was the famous historian Herodotus (481-425 B.C.). He claimed that Eupalinos, son of Naustrophus, (born in the city of Megara) was the engineering genius who designed and built the subterranean aqueduct.

Related: Dion: A Park Filled With Ancient Sanctuaries To The Greek Gods

The Insane Engineering of The Tunnel of Eupalinos

One of the remarkable feats of engineering is that the tunnel is one of only two known tunnels in history to have been excavated from both ends. It is a testament to the mathematical and geometry skills of the ancient Greeks to have been able to dig simultaneously from two portals diametrically opposite and successfully meet up in the middle. The measurements were of outstanding precision.

  • Excavated: From Both Ends At Once
  • Mathematics: The Geometry and Mathematics of the Tunnel Are Very Precise

But the tale of ancient Greek mathematical genius is more than just ensuring the two tunnels met up in the middle. They also manipulated the alignment of the tunnel so that they could avoid adverse geological conditions.

Related: It's Rumored That London Is Home To The Largest Secret Tunnel System In The World, So Here's What We Know

Visiting The Tunnel of Eupalinos

Today the Tunnel of Eupalinos is open to the public and is a popular tourist attraction on the island of Samos.

Before planning on visiting the tunnel, it is important to be aware that it is not for the claustrophobic. The tunnel stretches for more than a kilometer and was not exactly dug with a modern tunnel boring machine. The average dimensions of the tunnel are 1.8 meters high and 1.8 meters wide. But in some places folks will need to duck as the height of the tunnel is only 1.5 meters (5 feet) and only 0.42 meters wide.

Caution: The Tunnel Is Not for The Claustrophobic

The floor is also rocky and uneven as well as wet and slippy. The ceiling is dripping water in some places.

  • Temperature: Around 16.5 Celsius
  • Not Recommended: For Those Who Are Claustrophobic, have Panic Attacks, Spinal Problems, Etc.
  • Age Restriction: Restricted to Those 14 and Over
  • Hard Hats: Hard Hats Are Required and Provided

All visitors are obligated to wear helmets - these are provided as well as flat and non-slippery shoes. Children under 14 are not permitted in the tunnel while those aged 14 to 18 years of age need to be accompanied by an adult.

  • Photos: Photos Are Permitted But The Flash Is Not - Profession Photography Required Special Permission

More information about the opening time and restrictions are on the Odyessus Culture website.